Disabled grandfather from Norwich bursts into tears after bus driver allegedly refuses to let him on

Eddie Pleban who was refused entry onto a First Bus because of his powered wheelchair. With him is h

Eddie Pleban who was refused entry onto a First Bus because of his powered wheelchair. With him is his wife Jeannie. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

A disabled grandfather was left crying in front of a Norwich bus after its driver allegedly refused to let him on.

Eddie Pleban claimed he was not allowed on First Bus' 25 service on Monday as the driver mistook his electric-powered wheelchair for a mobility scooter.

The 68-year-old said the incident, which took place at Norwich Railway Station, left him feeling 'humiliated'.

After being refused entry, Mr Pleban - Norfolk YMCA's former housing manager - parked in front of the bus in protest while he phoned his wife to ask her to complain.

First Bus said the incident 'should not have happened' and added that it was launching a full investigation.

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Mr Pleban, who lives on Colman Road, said he showed the driver his disability bus pass, but claimed he was told it was 'not good enough.'

He added: 'Because this has happened a couple of times before, my heart just sank and I thought 'oh no, not again'.

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'I couldn't think of what else to do, so being extremely distressed and crying, I placed myself in my wheelchair in front of the bus.'

'I thought if nothing else, I will make him late.'

Following a similar complaint back in 2013, First Bus issued Mr Pleban with a letter to show drivers that his wheelchair was not a scooter.

But Mr Pleban said he had not brought it with him on Monday.

He was eventually able to get home board a different bus, driven by someone else.

But the grandfather of seven said the incident had left him 'very anxious' about using a bus again in the future.

Chris Speed, head of operations at First Bus, said the company would be interviewing the driver involved and had collected CCTV footage from the vehicle.

'It should never have happened,' he said. 'A number of years ago when there had been some issues we gave him a letter he could show the drivers, but unfortunately he did not have it with him. But it is still no excuse [for what happened].'

Mr Pleban, who was an Olympic torchbearer in 2012, made headlines in 2011 as he battled to recover from a brain stem stroke aboard a long-haul flight from Australia that year.

As well as suffering brain damage, he was left paralysed and initially given just two days to live.

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