NORWICH — A bus driver in the United Kingdom who reportedly switched out his vehicle because its electronic destination sign featured rainbow colors to celebrate pride has been suspended after a passenger lodged a complaint with the managing transportation company.
According to The Sun, teenage passenger Becca Sears waited at the Norwich Bus Station earlier this month to catch the 501 park and ride service. As she did so, the bus pulled up, but she and others were allegedly informed by the driver that he would be back in a few minutes because was going to switch out his bus due to its promotion of homosexuality. The city had just held a pride event days earlier.
She took photographs, which included the electronic “501” service number lit up in rainbow colors, and also posted about the matter on social media.
“Today I was waiting for the 501 bus to Thickthorn, and we were told by the driver we had to wait for him to swap buses as ‘this bus promotes homosexuality and I refuse to drive it’ due to the multicoloured ‘501’ sign,” Sears wrote later that day.
She says that she complained about the matter to the bus company Go East Anglia while she waited, telling them that “[y]ou are stopping people from getting home for such a ridiculous reason.”
In about 10 minutes, while Sears was still on her phone, the driver pulled up again and opened the door to let passengers on board.
Konectbus, which is run by Go East Anglia, responded to Sears via her social media post, writing, “Many thanks for getting in touch about this incident. Our management team has been made aware and it is being taken very seriously. We find this attitude, behavior and level of customer service completely unacceptable.”
The company advised that the driver — who has not been publicly identified — has been suspended as an investigation is underway, and also outlined in a statement that Konectbus has supported Norwich Pride for the past three years.
However, a petition has now been launched in support of the bus driver, and as of press time, over 22,000 people have signed.
“I am writing to signal my support for your bus driver and ask that he is not dismissed on account of exercising his conscience rights and on the say-so of a member of the public who may well have misrepresented or exaggerated his remarks,” the petition reads.
“Your driver was not refusing to work his contracted hours or carry out his duties; he simply objected to driving this particular vehicle as to do so would have gone against his conscience,” it notes. “He immediately transferred to a different vehicle with minimal disruption to the service.”
The petition expresses objection to mistreatment of the driver in light of his religious convictions.
“Are employees from minority religious backgrounds now effectively barred from driving your buses?” it asks. “There is no evidence that your employee acted in an abusive or offensive manner to any of the passengers traveling on your service, but nonetheless you have pandered to an intolerant 19-year-old who wishes to see him punished on account of his views.”
“As an employer, you have a duty of care to your driver who has now unexpectedly been thrust into the public spotlight. As a company that claims to support diversity, you have an obligation to represent all sections of the community and to stand up to episodes of bullying via social media to which your employee has been subjected.”
As previously reported, the Bible teaches that all men are in the exact same predicament: All are born with the Adamic sin nature and are therefore “by nature the children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3), having various inherent inclinations that are contrary to the law and will of God and being utterly incapable of changing by themselves (Job 14:4).
It is why Jesus came: to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21) and that they might be “saved from wrath through Him” (Romans 5:9) — taking out of the way for those who are saved both the penalty for, and the power of, sin.
Jesus outlined in John 3:5-7 that men must be regenerated by the second birth, and be transformed from being in Adam to being in Christ, or they cannot see the kingdom of Heaven.
The late Anglican preacher and author J.C. Ryle further explained Christian teaching on the matter:
“Without conversion there is no salvation. We all need an entire change of nature. Left to ourselves we have neither faith, nor fear, nor love towards God. We must be born again,” he stated.
“Left to ourselves we are utterly unfit for dwelling in God’s presence. Heaven would be no heaven to us if we were not converted. It is true of all ranks, classes, and orders of mankind. All are born in sin and children of wrath, and all, without exception, need to be born again and made new creatures. A new heart must be given to us and a new spirit put within us. Old things must pass away, and all things must become new.”