Tanyalee Davis, 47, as visibly upset in a film recorded by her partner
A comedian was left sobbing on a train after a guard ordered her to move her mobility scooter out of the wheelchair area – before making a public announcement about her.
Addressing all passengers on the Plymouth to Norwich service on Sunday the Great Western Railway (GWR) employee said the train would be stopping because of 47-year-old Tanyalee Davis.
The comedian, 47, was ordered to move so a woman’s pram could go in the disabled space.
Ms Davis explained the woman had a newborn but had hurt her arm so could not hold her baby.
When she refused, because she could not do so, she claims she was ‘harassed’ and ‘shamed’.
She said the guard announced over the tannoy: ‘We’re going to be stopping in Taunton indefinitely because the woman in the mobility scooter is causing problems.
‘They are videotaping me and threatening to put it on the internet.’
Tanyalee Davis, 47, was forced to move her mobility scooter on a train. An investigation is being launched into the incident
‘That was the most despicable part – all of a sudden you have everybody’s eyes on you – and people are freaking out because they have connections to Gatwick and all of a sudden they know it’s because of me,’ she added.
‘It was so humiliating that I wanted to crawl under a rock and die.
‘When he announced it, it was so embarrassing. I had to sit there for the next two hours crying.
‘He threatened to call the police and have us arrested because we were videotaping him.’
Ms Davis has dwafism and relies on her specially modified mobility scooter to get around as she cannot walk long distances.
Ms Davis struggled to reverse her scooter in the small space while a train guard told her he needed it clear for a pram
Dwarf comedian Tanyalee Davis was reduced to tears by a GWR train guard. The guard will be spoken to by his employers
Tanyalee Davis said a public announcement was made over the train PA system over her scooter
But the guard insisted she should move.
Kevin Bolden, Ms Davis’ partner filmed the incident on his phone which shows the comedian clearly frustrated as she attempts to reverse through the narrow train passage.
Great Western Railway (GWR) said the incident ‘should not have happened’ and has apologised to Ms Davis.
However, the comedian has said it is ‘not enough’.
‘GWR wants to apologise but that’s not the point here – there’s a bigger picture about whether or not to classify mobility scooters as the same as wheelchairs,’ she said.
‘An apology is not enough – it’s fine to say ‘sorry it shouldn’t have happened’ – but I have now been hearing other people’s stories saying they had a very similar situation in a mobility scooter or a blind person.
Comedian Tanyalee Davis was ordered to move on a train to Norwich. Pictured: Tanyalee Davis, 47, performing in Las Vegas.
‘It’s not just about GWR, it’s transport in general across the UK and for me personally getting some sort of change in classification with mobility scooters and not trying to make us seem like we’re not disabled.’
Ms Davis also said that, despite arranging for assistance at stations, there is often no staff to help and she is left ‘at the mercy of other people’ as she called for a dramatic improvement from rail companies.
She added: ‘I’m just trying to make a living and get around the country.
‘I’m just trying to support my family and do a job I love and I’m constantly having to battle.’
‘I want to get the word out there and talk to more people who can facilitate some change.’
Tanyalee on stage: The comedian who lives in Norwich said there needs to be a big change in Britain over the treatment of disabled people
Great Western Railway said ‘no one travelling with us should be left feeling like this’ and added: ‘This should not have happened, and we have been in touch with Tanyalee to apologise directly.
‘She has asked to speak with a senior member of our team to talk about her experience – and how we might avoid it happening again – and we have said we would be very happy to arrange this as soon as possible.’
A spokesman for GWR confirmed there is an ongoing investigation and a decision will be made on the employee’s future after ‘all parties involved’ had been spoke with.