A family is outraged after they say their 19-year-old son with Autism was denied a ride on a Hart bus.
There are many concerns for the family from the handling of disabled passengers to safety.
The timing is raising the stress levels because this happened just blocks from Seminole heights, a community where three murders occurred in less than two weeks.
The family can’t help drawing parallels to one of the victims.
Two years ago 19-year-old Nick Diaz proudly learned his bus route to school at Pepin Academy.
“I may look like everyone else but I'm different than anyone else,” said Diaz. “I was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome, It is a form, of Autism.”
Sometimes learning new things can be challenging. Diaz said everything always went smoothly until Monday morning. The 19-year-old said the bus driver denied him a ride, despite showing her his bus pass.
“She was saying get off my bus you have to have regulation. She kept on giving me all these numbers and I just did not understand. She didn't believe I had a disability.”
Nick’s stepfather, Brian McGimsey is not only furious.
“The bottom line is that Nick did nothing wrong. He did everything he was supposed to do,” said McGimsey.
McGimsey also said, “ehy is it that a 19-year-old man with Autism who is 6’3 and 271 pounds because he doesn't fit the description of what you think a person with disability is. Why you force them off the bus? It doesn’t make sense.”
He and Diaz’s mom are very worried, especially right now. The stop is just two blocks from Seminole Heights where a killer has struck three times.
“We just saw the police chief indicate if you are on the street alone you are considered a suspect or victim and the last victim in Seminole Heights was an autistic man close to my son’s age,” said McGimsey
Diaz not knowing what to do walked 25 blocks to school.
“She kept saying get off the bus I was very upset and so I walked all the way,” said Diaz.
McGimsey said, “to deny this young man a ride that morning put his safety at an issue.”
The family complained to Hart. A spokesperson said they’ve opened an investigation and are taking this very seriously.
Right now the focus is trying to pin point the driver. They reviewed video over one time and did not see anything but still haver to review more.
A Hart spokes person also said there is a training program in place to help recognize disabled drivers.
McGimsey feels they may need to reevaluate their policies.
“We would like to have a meeting with this bus driver so she knows not everyone with a disability has a cane, wheel chair or seeing eye dog. There are other disabilities,” said McGimsey.
“I just went to move on with my life,” said Diaz.