Disabled boy in bus outrage

Kieren Browning with his dad Nick, mum Vickie and brother Jayden August 5th 2010 E31086L
Kieren Browning with his dad Nick, mum Vickie and brother Jayden August 5th 2010 E31086L

The parents of a terminally ill little boy from Eastbourne say they were left upset and angry after he wasn’t allowed on a bus at the weekend.

Football mad Kieran Browning, who has an aggressive brain tumour which means he can only get around in a wheelchair, and his family were not allowed to board a bus which would have taken them to the Brighton and Hove Albion clash with Arsenal on Saturday afternoon.

The family told reporters that a Brighton and Hove bus driver refused to let them on the bus outside the University of Brighton in Lewes Road, Brighton, claiming there was not enough room for them and nine-year-old Kieran in his wheelchair.

Mr Browning, who lives with his wife Vickie and family in Whitley Road, said the driver then allowed ten people to get on the bus instead.

He said, “People should be made aware of the unfair treatment some disabled people have to deal with even when measures are there to protect them. We use the same bus stop before every single match. We were planning on getting there early so we could take in all the atmosphere. What happened certainly put a dampener on the day.

“Society generally has been quite good in its attitude towards disabled people, This has never happened before and I have to admit I did get angry.”

Mr Browning said he believed the driver had breached Kieran’s human rights and he was considering legal action.

The bus company has now apologised to the family after investigating the incident.

Managing director Roger French said, “Mr Browning called us on the day and we have a full investigation in hand and have spoken to him again and passed on our sincere apologies for all the upset caused which could have been avoided.

“Although the bus was very busy with lots of people boarding, the driver should have asked people to move further down the bus and created space for the wheelchair to be carried.”

The bus firm also sent a basket of fruit to the family home.

Mr Browning later said he was happy and proud of the way the firm had dealt with the incident. “We are touched by their actions. It was the actions of one driver which was of concern and the company swiftly addressed this.”

Kieran’s family moved to Eastbourne from Hastings to be closer to their family after doctors estimated he had months to live. After an appeal in the Herald a generous businessman came forward and offered the family somewhere to live rent free for six months.