A Sheffield Muslim woman was left humiliated after a bus driver told her: “You’d better not be taking curry onto the coach.”
Yusra Ahmed, aged 20, said the National Express driver’s hostility was obvious from the moment she and three friends started queueing for a service from Manchester to Leeds.
In a Facebook post which went viral, the student said: “She analysed our tickets very closely, which is something we noticed she didn’t do to any other passengers.
“After checking our tickets, she scanned us up and down and aggressively asked if we had any hot food in our bags.”
Yusra replied they were only carrying cold lasagne and rice and reassured her there would be no smell.
“The driver then shouted quite loudly that ‘we had better not be taking curry on to the coach,’” Yusra wrote.
“I told her we were not intending on eating on the coach but she continued shouting to us about stinking up her coach with curry.
“She was obviously targeting us of her preconceived ideas about brown people. We were visibly Muslim so this made it easier for her.”
When they accused the driver of racism, Yusra said the driver lost her temper and said the women were not allowed on the coach.
The women then had to wait to catch the next coach an hour and a half later on the evening of June 14 .
Yusra said she heard nothing from National Express until her posts went viral on Twitter and Facebook four days later.
She said: “Ten days after the incident, we were told the driver admitted she had made the remarks about curry.
“National Express informed us they would issue a written apology for leaving us behind – but not for the remarks that were made about us by the driver.
“We feel they have not taken our complaint seriously and have done their best to brush the issue off. The incident made us feel humiliated, frustrated and angry.”
A National Express spokesman said: “We take allegations of employee misconduct extremely seriously and a thorough investigation into the issues raised by this highly unusual complaint has been undertaken by our senior management team.
“We’re sorry this issue was not followed up to the customer’s satisfaction, and for the distress of those involved and are committed to taking on board any lessons which could be learned.”