By Lucas Grindley
Originally published on Advocate.com July 13 2011 10:30 AM ET
Singer Ari Gold and his boyfriend were told to move to the back of the bus for holding hands, he said Sunday on Facebook.
When Gold refused, the Shortline bus driver pulled over and called the police.
Gold said "we were both listening to Whitney Houston on an iPod double jack and loving her love songs," and holding hands, when the driver pulled over to tell us to "stop sitting in the front." Gold said no, "and that's when the driver called the state trooper."
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When the state troopers arrived, Gold said they told the bus driver "there was nothing illegal about the way we were sitting." Still, Gold says he and his boyfriend were again told they could move to the back of the bus and resolve the problem.
"We said no," and asked to file a police report but the officers "quickly exited the bus, leaving ours and the other passengers safety in the hands of a dissatisfied, discriminatory, and mad driver," according to Gold, who said he couldn't get badge numbers for the officers.
Gold said he stood up to the driver "despite my racing heart." Things could have easily escalated. "The only thing I could do is make sure my boyfriend stayed calm," said Gold. "I was afraid he was going to lose it."
The Village Voice's Michael Musto was first to report the incident, and Shortline sent him a response, saying it will investigate Gold's account of what happened.
"We do not condone or endorse the actions taken by this one driver. His actions are not representative of the management of our company," wrote George Grieve, president of Hudson Transit Lines, which owns Shortline. "We will continue to investigate this incident until we are sure we have all the facts at which time we will take the appropriate disciplinary and remedial action. We apologize for the insensitive action of our driver and can assure you we will take the necessary steps to make sure this does not happen again."