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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 April 2007, 12:57 GMT 13:57 UK
Amputee asked to prove disability
Brian Callaghan (picture courtesy of MEN Syndication)
Mr Callaghan lost his legs three years ago
A man with no legs was asked to prove he was disabled before being allowed on to a bus in Manchester.

Double amputee Brian Callaghan, 60, was asked for his disabled pass entitling him to free travel, while boarding the number 17 First bus to Middleton.

"I've got no legs, it's pretty obvious," he replied.

Bob Mason, of First Bus services, apologised to Mr Callaghan for any embarrassment and said an investigation into the incident had been started.

Mr Callaghan, from the Blackley area of the city, is a former bus driver himself and said other passengers were outraged when the driver refused to move.

His wife, Maria, 58, had helped him onto the bus before purchasing her own 1.40 ticket.

We would be more than happy to send a representative from the company to meet with Mr Callaghan to discuss his concerns
Bob Mason, First Bus

"After my wife helped push me on to the bus, he shouted after us down the bus 'Oi, have you got a pass, mate?'."

"Everyone was shouting and saying: 'What's wrong with this driver, is he for real?'

"I felt all eyes on me - it was incredibly embarrassing and belittling.

"I'm an easy-going guy - nothing fazes me normally - but I was gobsmacked at the driver's attitude."

Fortunately, Mr Callaghan was able to show the driver his pass - but he was left embarrassed by the incident.

Mr Callaghan, who worked as a bus driver in Greater Manchester for 17 years until 1980, is planning to make a written complaint to First buses about his treatment on Sunday 25 March.

Investigation triggered

"In all my time working, I never once asked people for passes if they were obviously blind or disabled," he added.

"That's just unnecessary and unkind."

Mr Callaghan lost his legs three years ago through diabetes, one six months after the other.

Although he and his wife have a car, they occasionally use public transport to visit friends for lunch.

Mr Mason, First's service delivery director, said he was "saddened" to hear about Mr Callaghan's experiences.

"I'd like to apologise to him for any embarrassment and discomfort he experienced," said Mr Mason.

"We need to establish all the facts so that we can learn what transpired and introduce steps, if necessary, to ensure there is no repeat at any time in the future.

"We would be more than happy to send a representative from the company to meet with Mr Callaghan to discuss his concerns."


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