Kent

Parkinson's sufferer told 'hurry up' by Stagecoach driver

Sean Doyle Image copyright Sean Doyle
Image caption Sean Doyle cannot walk far and relies on the bus for travel

A man with Parkinson's said he was left "fuming" after the driver of a bus told him to "hurry up" while boarding.

Sean Doyle believes the Stagecoach driver thought he was drunk because the disease makes his hands shake and his speech slurred.

The 54-year-old was struggling to get his bus pass out when he claims the driver said: "I'm 15 minutes late here mate, I've got to go".

Stagecoach has apologised and is investigating.

'So embarrassed'

Mr Doyle was on his way home to Castle Hill Avenue in Folkestone after inquiring about getting a mobility scooter at a dealership.

He said he "looked a mess" when he stepped on the bus as he was soaked from the rain and he was struggling to get his pass out of his pocket.

You might also be interested in:

Parkinson's sufferer 'ejected over walk'

'I'm not drunk, I've got Parkinson's'

Why I get mistaken for being drunk

"I told [the driver] I have Parkinson's and he mumbled something I couldn't hear. Then he said 'come on, these passengers are all going to be late', like it was my fault," he said.

After being told twice to hurry up, he said he got off the bus and went straight to the station to complain, as he was "absolutely fuming".

Image copyright N Chadwick
Image caption Stagecoach buses at the station in Folkestone

"The exchange didn't last much more then 30 seconds, but I was flustered which makes my condition worse.

"One of the biggest things with the Parkinson's for me is the depression which comes with it. And I was so embarrassed by this.

"I don't look obviously disabled, there just needs to be more awareness."

A spokesman for Stagecoach South East said: "We were concerned to hear of this incident and immediately launched an investigation.

"We have spoken directly to the passenger to apologise and will take any action necessary."

'Many mistreated'

Benali Hamdache, campaigns manager at Parkinson's UK, said: "We know that one in four people have had their Parkinson's confused for drunkenness.

"There are simply too many cases where people are mistreated because of their condition."

The charity has offered training to businesses and started a petition to call for more training.

He added: "The lack of understanding of Parkinson's means that those living with it are all too often having to face distressing situations.

"People with the condition can face daily challenges and negative reactions from people, who wrongly perceive some of the symptoms, making life harder."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites