NYACK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A father and his son who has autism were kicked off a commuter bus, and now the Rockland County family wants more training for bus drivers.
His birthday weekend may have ended in celebration, but it started with panic, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reports.
“This shattered his spirit. Shattered and it’s heartbreaking to me,” Jessica Minogue said.
Minogue says her 11-year-old son, Donovan, and his father were kicked off a Hudson Link commuter coach bus Friday night after leaving the Palisades Center in West Nyack. They were left stranded in the middle of White Plains.
“It wasn’t handled properly. He was put in danger,” Minogue said. “His father wasn’t familiar with the area.”
The reason, she says, is because her son got motion sickness for the first time on a bus.
“They got halfway over the Tappan Zee Bridge, and he got sick and threw up,” Minogue said.
The Nyack woman says Donovan’s dad offered to clean up the mess, but the bus driver refused the help and instead got angry, started to yell and kicked them off.
“He was sobbing, sobbing, begging his father to get back on that bus because he didn’t understand,” Minogue said.
Donovan has autism and riding on public transit is one of his favorite things to do, which makes matters worse for the family.
“It was the first time ever he’s ever been mistreated in a public environment,” Blayne Minogue, the child’s grandmother, said. “This is obviously a sensitivity issue, as well as a public service issue.”
Rockland County Executive Ed Day is calling the situation “deplorable and disgusting,” asking the state to suspend the driver while an investigation takes place, something the family agrees with.
“We need change, as much awareness as there is, especially for children of autism,” Jessica Minogue said.
They hope in the meantime this one incident doesn’t tarnish Donovan’s love for public transit.
Jessica says her son and his dad ended up having to take a city bus to a train to get home.
The father and son took a city bus and then a train to get to his home in Mount Vernon. The New York State Department of Transportation and the bus company are investigating.