Comedian 'humiliated' for using disabled space on train

Media caption,
Disabled comedian Tanyalee Davis 'humiliated' on train

A comedian has hit out at a train operator after she was "harassed and humiliated" for using a disabled space for her mobility scooter.

Tanyalee Davis said a guard on a Great Western Railway (GWR) service threatened to call the police if she did not leave the space.

Ms Davis said the guard then made an announcement that she was "causing problems" which had delayed the train.

GWR said staff who saw the video were "collectively horrified".

Canadian-born Ms Davis, 47, who has a form of dwarfism, was travelling on the 11:00 service from Plymouth to London on Sunday with her partner, Kevin Bolden, who filmed the incident on a mobile phone.

She was told to move from the unreserved space after a young mother asked to use it for a pram.

Ms Davis, who lives in Norwich, said she felt "personally and publicly humiliated" after the guard threatened to call the police.

"He made an announcement... saying that it was 'the woman with the mobility scooter' that was causing problems and that the train would be delayed indefinitely," she said.

"It was humiliating and I cried for most of the journey home," she said.

Image source, Tanyalee Davis
Image caption,
Tanyalee Davis is an award-winning comedian who bases much of her comedy on her experiences

Ms Davis had been travelling back to Norfolk after headlining the Plymouth Comedy Club on Saturday.

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In a tearful video after the journey, she said: "I don't know what it is about this country, they really make you feel disabled.

"Just because I use a mobility scooter it doesn't make me a pariah, it doesn't make me less disabled".

"I'm just trying to make a living, to make people laugh," she added.

Image source, Tanyalee Davis
Image caption,
Ms Davis has posted videos of her experience online

Dan Panes, from GWR, said a team from the train company had watched Ms Davis' video and were "collectively horrified".

"We got it wrong, it made no sense. A wheelchair space is a wheelchair space, it's not for luggage or pushchairs," he admitted.

"The priority is really clear. Tanyalee should not have been asked to move."

He confirmed that an investigation is under way - but did not say if any action would be taken against the train guard involved.

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