Until recently, Michael Shephard was a National Express Bus Driver. The 66 year old granddad from Coventry was fired by the company when he was seen on CCTV eating a grape.
After working for the company for five years, Shephard is furious that it has come to this. He insists that he ate the grape while the bus was stationary at the terminus, no customers were on board and nobody saw him. He believes that the company is taking their health and safety rules too seriously.
“I am so angry. I thought I would be given a disciplinary for eating a grape, but not sacked.
I don’t eat or drink while I am driving but I was just sat stationary at the bus terminus in Bedworth for a few minutes and took a grape to wet my mouth a bit.
I had a heart by-pass 12 months ago and the medication dries your mouth so I just take a sip of water or a grape sometimes when I’m sat at the station or terminus.
I had already eaten my lunch so there was only a few grapes left in my lunchbox. And rather than getting off the bus to eat the grape I just stayed sitting in the cabin.
I explained why I needed to have a sip of water or a grape every hour or so but they said it is still against the rules.
They are just taking the rules to the next level.
I don’t remember my every movement on that day but I might have scratched my face or something while my mouth was still moving.
There were no passengers on my bus and nobody saw me so I don’t understand the problem.
There had been an incident a few weeks earlier where a passenger had complained but National Express said they had looked into that and although it was a preventable incident, they said my sacking wasn’t a part of it – it was just for eating the grape.”
Mr Shephard admits that he was still chewing when he began driving, but is launching an appeal against the sacking.
I’m inclined to agree with Mr Shephard. If these jobsworths are concerned about health and safety, maybe they should consider the wellbeing of the bus driver.
By Lewis Roe
Click HERE to read about the Coach Driver who couldn’t take a joke.