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Coach driver suspended after telling tourists 'you MUST speak English in the UK'

PUBLISHED: 06:00 19 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:42 19 October 2019

A couple visiting Norwich were told by their National Express driver:

A couple visiting Norwich were told by their National Express driver: "You MUST speak English in the UK". Photo: Professional Images (UK) Ltd/Francisco Perez-Ferrer

©2014 Professional Images (UK) Ltd. Free for use.

A National Express coach driver has been suspended after a Costa Rican couple visiting their family in Norwich were told: "you MUST speak English in the UK".

The note a couple visiting Norwich handed their National Express coach driver and the response they received. Photo: Francisco Perez-FerrerThe note a couple visiting Norwich handed their National Express coach driver and the response they received. Photo: Francisco Perez-Ferrer

Guillermo Rodriguez and his wife Ana Ruth Quesada, both in their sixties, were travelling from Norwich to Heathrow last week.

Because the pair do not speak English their daughter had written a note for them to hand their coach driver asking for help in reaching the correct terminal.

The note said: "Hi! We don't speak English but we have to get to terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport.

"Could you please let us know when arriving there? Many thanks."

Their son in-law Francisco Perez-Ferrer said that when a new driver took over at Cambridge and was handed the note, they behaved "in an abusive and harassing way".

The driver then wrote beneath the note: "you MUST speak English in the UK".

National Express condemned the actions of the driver, saying: "This kind of behaviour is clearly unacceptable and not what we expect of our employees.

"The driver concerned has been removed from National Express services with immediate effect while we carry out our investigation."

Mr Perez-Ferrer said of the incident: "It's a real pity in many ways.

"It isn't good for international tourists, who should be coming here through the fantastic airport we have in Norwich.

"It's also a bad thing for those international investors that try to put some money to arrange new business or factories, bringing new jobs.

"I'm really sad, we've been living here since January, and found people in Norwich are quite friendly, but these kind of people ruin the wonderful image that Norfolk is trying to project."

The family have filed a formal complaint about the "distressing" incident with National Express.

National Express added: "With hundreds of services to all major UK airports every day, we welcome passengers from across the world and pride ourselves on providing them with the highest level of customer service.

"We have made contact with the customers concerned to personally apologise for this incident and assure them that we are taking this matter very seriously."

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