Sick, diabetic man says Greyhound bus driver left him stranded on highway
Barry Spence says he was accused of being drunk, told to walk to next town — 200 kilometres away
A diabetic Manitoba man says he was left stranded at the side of a dark highway, hundreds of kilometres from home, by a Greyhound bus driver.
Barry Spence, 41, travels from his home in Thompson, Man., to Winnipeg every week for dialysis due to kidney failure from Type 2 diabetes. He started feeling sick as he was heading back home on the bus May 20.
About four hours into the 7½-hour trip, the bus pulled into the town of Grand Rapids. Spence went into a gas station washroom and threw up.
"When I came out, the bus driver tells me I can't get back in the bus. I says, 'What for?' and he says, 'You're drunk. I called the cops on you. The cops are coming,'" Spence said.
In a statement Monday, RCMP said that when they responded to the scene at 4:03 a.m., Spence appeared to be in good health. The officers told the bus driver they didn't believe he was intoxicated, Spence said.
I would like this not to happen at all for anybody. It was hard. It was scary.- Barry Spence
But, Spence said, he wasn't allowed back on the bus.
"He says, 'Well, I don't want him on my bus. I've got 48 [others] to worry about and I don't want to worry about him.'"
The bus left and a stranded Spence asked the officers what he was supposed to do. Gas station attendants wouldn't let him in the store, he said.
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Spence said the officers suggested he walk to the next community and to keep far to the right of the highway because it was dark and vehicles might not see him.
The closest town, Wabowden, is more than 200 kilometres north of Grand Rapids.
Wants an apology
An RCMP spokesperson said no charges were laid, and "he indicated to our officers that he would make travel arrangements with his cellphone."
Spence said he walked for an hour before becoming too cold because he was dressed for a ride, not a walk in temperatures that dropped just below freezing.
Spence called his mother on his cellphone and arranged to be picked up. His mom then contacted a priest in Grand Rapids and they went to his house to warm up with coffee.
Spence said he'll never use Greyhound again and he's sent a complaint to the company but hasn't had a response yet.
He would like an apology and perhaps some compensation.
"I would like this not to happen at all for anybody. It was hard. It was scary."
'Zero tolerance policy'
In an emailed statement, a Greyhound spokesperson said because safety is the "cornerstone of our business, we enforce a zero tolerance policy with regard to unruly or disruptive customers, including customers who appear to be intoxicated on board the bus."
"Our initial response upon observing the customer's behavior was to follow our policy and contact the RCMP to remove the customer. However, after further investigation, it appears the customer may have been experiencing a non-alcohol related issue."
The statement added that Greyhound does not discriminate on the "basis of race, colour, national origin, disability or any other characteristic."
Greyhound said they are continuing to look into the incident.