A train company has apologised to a comedian after she complained of being “harassed and humiliated” for using an unreserved wheelchair space for her mobility scooter.
Tanyalee Davis was travelling back from Plymouth to London Paddington on the morning of 16 July after headlining the Plymouth Comedy Club on Saturday when a mother and baby joined the train just before Taunton.
Davis, who has a form of dwarfism and is just 3ft 6in tall, was asked to move or fold up her scooter by both the mother and the guard, in order to put the pram in the space instead.
A disagreement ensued and the guard threatened to call the police, announcing over the tannoy that it was “the woman with the mobility scooter causing the problems” and the train would be “delayed indefinitely.”
The incident was filmed by Davis’s partner Kevin Bolden on a mobile phone and the couple eventually got off the train at Taunton as Davis told the camera: “We are now getting kicked off the train because I refuse to move for a baby pram.”
Weeping as she explained what had happened in a recording made after the incident, Davis, who was born in Canada and now lives in Norwich, said: “It was humiliating and I cried for most of the journey home. I don’t know what it is about this country, they really make you feel disabled.
“Just because I use a mobility scooter, it doesn’t make me a pariah, it doesn’t make me less disabled. I’m just trying to make a living, to make people laugh.
“And share all my good experiences, but this country really drags a person down.”
Great Western Railway has apologised to Davis, and a spokesperson said: “No one travelling with us should be left feeling like this. This should not have happened.”
He added: “She has asked to speak with a senior member of our team to talk about her experience – and how we might avoid it happening again - and we have said we would be very happy to arrange this as soon as possible.”