By Daniel Reynolds
Originally published on Advocate.com August 06 2013 1:19 PM ET
A shuttle service company has apologized for the actions of one of its drivers, who recently ordered a gay couple holding hands to move to the back of the bus.
Standard Parking Inc. has stated that it has a zero tolerance policy toward discrimination and suspended the employee after learning of the June incident, reports the Associated Press. It also stressed its commitment to its customers’ equal rights.
On June 28, Ron McCoy and his partner Chris Bowers had flown to Albuquerque International Airport, in order to participate in the city’s Pride celebration. After boarding a Standing Parking shuttle and taking a seat near the front, they were reprimanded by the driver for holding hands.
"I saw him look at us, look down at his hands, and he looked so angry," McCoy told Albuquerque’s KQRE, in an article published on August 2. "He just blurted out at me, he goes, O.K., if you're going to do that, you're going to the back of the bus."
Richard Berry, mayor of Albuquerque, N.M., censured the actions of the driver.
"We're out there aggressively making sure this never happens again because this does not belong in Albuquerque, New Mexico," Berry told KOB-TV. "This does not reflect Albuquerque, New Mexico, and as the mayor I'm upset about it, and we want to make sure we get to the bottom of it."
A manager for Standard Parking previously told KQRE the driver "was inappropriate and got carried away," but that he did not consider the incident discrimination. The manager told KQRE the driver in question was still working for the company.
The couple is considering legal action, and have reportedly filed a complaint with the American Civil Liberties Union. Albuquerque's Human Rights Office is also investigating the incident, reports the Albuquerque Journal.