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Disabled teenager left stranded by driver
A bus company has apologised for a “diabolical” decision that left an award-winning disabled Otley girl stranded on her own.
Danielle Bailey, who is wheelchair-dependent after tragically losing her hands and legs to meningitis, was trying to get home from Leeds bus station following a day at college when she was refused entry on board an X84 First bus.
The 14-year-old, whom Sport England are supporting as a potential future Paralympian swimmer, says the driver told her she couldn’t get on because “the ramp was broken”.
That claim, however, is being disputed by Danielle’s parents, Lind-say and Trevor, who are furious their daughter was left waiting alone in the city for almost another hour. And during that time, she suffered verbal abuse from a group of youths.
Mrs Bailey said: “What has happened is disgusting.
“This is the company, First, which provided the buses for the Olympics and Paralympics – but Danielle, a potential Paralympian, couldn’t even get on one of their buses. It’s diabolical.
“She was upset and had to wait another 45 minutes for the next bus. Unfortunately, she was picked on by some people during that time.
“I know that’s not First’s fault, but if she had had been allowed on the bus that wouldn’t have happened.
"This was just blatant discrimination, it seems like the driver saw her and thought 'I can't be bothered to get the ramp out'.
"It would have been really nice if someone, even the driver, had apologised and said something like 'it was a one-off, I was having a bad day'.
"At least then we could be sure it won't happen again. But we complained straight after this happened, on September 18, and heard nothing back until after this newspaper contacted First this week."
A First spokesman said: "We have been in touch with Mr and Mrs Bailey and have apologised for any distress their daughter may have suffered. We are now working with them to investigate exactly what happened.
"As part of our training programme we train all of our drivers in disability awareness and expect all our staff to recognise and respond to the range of different needs that our customers may have.
"However, we will be taking further steps to ensure such an incident does not happen again."
Danielle, who was left fighting for life after contracting meningitis as a four-year-old, was presented with a Pride of Britain award when pop group One Direction visited her at Prince Henry's Grammar School last year.