A bus driver refused to drive a passenger because she considered him gay. The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) promises that the case will be investigated: “COTA policy strictly prohibits all discrimination, including that based upon sexual orientation, and we take seriously any such allegation. At this time, we are reviewing all available information so that we can have a full understanding of this incident. Once we have the facts, we will share information with the public, and we will take appropriate action.” Benjamin Purdom was on the 83 bus heading to work, when the bus was stopped for no reason and the driver waited for her supervisor. Although she refused to say whether her actions were because he was gay, he believes she made the assumption because he was wearing make-up. He filmed the incident and spread it through social networks.
The video shows Mr Purdom boarding the bus and taking a seat just in front of the back doors. There is already another passenger sitting in the back of the bus. Mr Purdom takes out his phone and appears to be doing nothing but use it.The footage then shows the driver tell him, “If you keep doing what you’re doing, I’m going to have to ask you to get off. I’m uncomfortable with you on here.” Mr Purdom asks what he has done, but at no point is told the reason for the driver’s outburst. She simply adds, “I’m not going to accept you being on the bus and assault me and then sit there like you’re doing nothing, but my body knows you’re doing something.” At this point she stopped the bus and refused to tell Mr Purdom or the other passenger why she had done so.
Mr. Purdom considered it a humiliation. “She was really terrifying,” he told The Dispatch. “I didn’t figure that it might be a discriminatory thing until someone pointed out her ‘I love Jesus’ lanyard. I was wearing visible makeup. I can only jump to conclusions because she wouldn’t give me an explanation.”