Bus drivers sometimes come in for a fair amount of stick – often unfairly. And there’s no denying that nobody likes a surly or belligerent driver.
It’s not often that inspectors come in for a load of stick, though. So I was a little surprised to come across a story about a bus inspector whose demeanour has led to him being referred to either as ‘that inspector from 'On the Buses' (Blakey, I think they mean) or Hitler.
This all comes from the case of a six year old from West Fife who apparently was left in floods of tears when the bus inspector – or Hitler, as parents now apparently call him – demanded the little girl’s bus pass.
The incident happened as the kids got on to the bus and, according to one angry mum: "This inspector said to them, 'Where's your pass? If you don't have your pass tomorrow, you'll have to pay. If you don't pay, you won't get on the bus.'
"It was the manner he said it,” she said “It was a totally unacceptable way for him to behave.
"I had just persuaded Amy to start using the school bus and now she's saying she doesn't want to go back on it.
"People like that shouldn't be anywhere near kids if that's how they're going to behave. We don't need Hitlers terrorising young children.
Parents then questioned whether it was a waste of resources putting an inspectors on a bus to check six year-olds bus passes.
Now the school is involved, as well as the local council and Stagecoach, with everybody no doubt trying to take the heat out of the situation and figure out exactly what went on. Whatever happen now, there won’t be any winners.
It’s probably a minor event in the great scheme of things, and its entirely likely that the inspector was not intending to be deliberately intimidating or offensive. Parents are want to be protective of their charges and rightly so, and some can occasionally misconstrue other people’s – especially people in uniforms – intentions. I’m a parent myself – mea culpa.
But this case also underlines how quickly – and possibly unfairly - a reputation can be damaged. Stagecoach will no doubt be ensuring that this particular inspector’s duties keep him busy elsewhere for a while.