Father and toddler abandoned at roadside after mask spat

Jack Bunn with his daughter Esmé

Jack Bunn with his daughter Esmé - Credit: Contributed

An asthmatic man was left standing in the cold and dark with his three-year-old daughter when a bus driver refused to let him on. 

Jack Bunn, 26, was collecting his daughter Esmé from her nursery in Mile Cross, and attempted to board the number 38 from Aylsham Road back to his flat near Riverside at 6.10pm on Tuesday. 

But Mr Bunn, who is exempt from wearing a face mask due to his severe breathing condition, was refused admission by the driver who allegedly said he did not believe the father's protests.

Mr Bunn, who cannot drive, also has Asperger's and is on the autism spectrum. 

Jack Bunn and his three-year-old daughter Esmé were refused entry onto a First bus 

Jack Bunn and his three-year-old daughter Esmé were refused entry onto a First bus - Credit: Contributed

He was left waiting for his mum Carol to pick him and Esmé up after she finished work. 

Mrs Bunn, 57, said: "The driver said 'I do not believe you' and left him on the side of the road. Jack was extremely upset and because he is Aspergic, he did not really know what to say.

"He told me he does not want to keep mucking about and it has put him off taking Esmé to nursery.

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"Jack has previously had no problems whatsoever on public transport and he was not wearing a mask on the way to Mile Cross. He has been fine on the train to London too." 

The family has sent a formal complaint to bus firm First. 

Mrs Bunn said her son had previously been able to work in Co-op without a mask where they were sympathetic to his condition. 

Chris Speed, head of operations at First said: “It is a legal requirement to wear a face covering when travelling on public transport unless a person is exempt.

"Our drivers are advised to challenge a person to remind them of this requirement if a person attempts to board a bus without wearing one but they should not make a judgement or refuse travel at any time.

Head of operations at Frist Chris Speed. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Chris Speed, head of operations at First Eastern Counties - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

"There has clearly been a misunderstanding in this circumstance to which we will discuss with our driver concerned.

"Every person using public transport has a legal and social obligation to consider the safety of themselves, our drivers and other customers when travelling to help reduce and limit the spread of the Covid virus.”