A French man—who relies on using a wheelchair—tried to board a public bus in Paris, but lack of common courtesy from fellow commuters prevented him from getting on.
Francois Le Berre has multiple sclerosis and faces many day to day challenges. But being able to use public transportation should be the least of his concerns.
So when the bus driver—repulsed by his callous passengers refusing to accommodate Le Berre—made a very bold and unprecedented move, many on social media heralded him as heroic.
The driver—whose identity remained anonymous—pulled the bus over and asked everyone to step off so that Le Berre and his companion could board.
Once Le Berre was settled, the driver drove off, leaving the previous passengers stranded until they could catch the next bus.
A group called “Accessible Pour Tous”—which translates to “Accessible for All”—tweeted about the justice enacted on Le Berre’s behalf.
Hier en attendant le bus à Paris, personne ne voulait se pousser. Comme personne ne bougeait le chauffeur s'est levé et à dit "Terminus ! Tout le monde descend! Après il est venu me voir et m’a dit "vous pouvez monter et les autres , vous attendez celui d'après!
François Le Berre pic.twitter.com/Icb5fqPMfD
— Accessible POUR TOUS (@tomipa06) October 21, 2018
Their tweet reads:
“Yesterday while waiting for the bus in Paris, nobody wanted to push themselves. As no one was moving the driver stood up and said “Terminus! Everybody down! After he came to see me and said “You can go up and the others, you wait for the next one!”
A French driver has been praised for kicking every single passenger off his bus after they failed to make room for a man in a wheelchair https://t.co/kzyAgqExjH
— Evening Standard (@standardnews) November 1, 2018
Many people praised the bus driver’s no-nonsense decision and shamed the other passengers for not being considerate towards the disabled commuter.
Well done to the driver
— Mary Cullen (@marycullen21) November 1, 2018
Bravo au chauffeur de bus 👏👏👏par contre honte aux passagers 😡
— Nathalie (@NathaliaG87) October 21, 2018
“Bravo to the bus driver 👏👏👏 shame on the passengers 😡”
Hurrah for the bus driver! Bien fait le chauffeur ! https://t.co/XVdvAkbAWK
— DC (@tanngrisnir) November 1, 2018
Good French sensibility
— Kate Kelly Paintings (@RajbabyKate) November 1, 2018
@brookewinters33@DisabilityWales @ChronicRights@DisRightsUK @PosAbilityMag @UniteMag @WheelsofSteer
There are so many who could learn from this amazing hero French bus driver! Kudos 🙏https://t.co/TJn8eNw2EM
— AstronomyGeek🌾♿📷🔭 (@astronomy_geek) November 2, 2018
Shout out to the French bus driver who kicked everybody out of their bus because nobody got up to help a person in a wheelchair get into it. #bravo
— Snowflake Obsidian (@LapisAlienus) October 29, 2018
This user said she always makes room for pregnant women and for the disabled, thanks to good upbringing.
She pointed out that it is a matter of proper discipline.
J’ai toujours laissé ma place aux personnes âgées femmes enceintes ou aux personnes handicapées grâce à mes parents qui me l’ont appris quand j’étais enfant donc malheureusement c’est bien un problème d’éducation
— Nathalie (@NathaliaG87) October 22, 2018
“More to the point, there was a time it was natural (to accommodate).”
“I always gave my place to elderly pregnant women or people with disabilities thanks to my parents who taught me when I was a child so unfortunately it is a problem of education.”
Accessible POUR TOUS‘ post went viral, with over 5,000 shares and liked by over 13,000 users.
A spokesperson for RATP—the company that owns and runs Paris’ transit system—also praised the bus driver for his unilateral decision. They asked that he come forward to be recognized for accommodating Le Berre.
When people asked if the offer of accolades was a tactic to reveal the driver’s name in order to reprimand him, another RATP spokesperson responded saying the agency would never punish an employee who acted in favor of a disadvantaged commuter, according to CTV news.
The Evening Standard noted that buses in France usually have one or two seats allocated for the disabled and that passengers should give priority to them and give up their seats accordingly.
Those stranded commuters got a tough lesson in common courtesy and human decency.