A minibus driver from Portsmouth has been left perturbed after he was banned from wearing a Christmas jumper while at work.
Drivers at Pete’s Airlink have been prohibited from wearing festive knits due to concerns some of the designs could ‘upset special needs kids’.
And 68-year-old driver Mike Osborn is less than best pleased at this, describing the new measure as ‘like something Fagin and Scrooge would do’.
Find out more about Mike’s Dickensian dilemma in the following clip:
Being fond of a jolly jumper, Mike thought nothing of sporting a red jumper with a Christmas pudding emblazoned on it while out on a school run. However, this earned him a stern ticking off.
After being marched to the company’s store cupboard, Mike was handed a far less merry official short sleeve grey shirt and tie before being warned against wearing his festive knitwear on the job.
Mike reached out to his line manager for an explanation, and was informed staff had been prohibited from wearing Christmas jumpers as they could end up scaring children with special needs.
[I was told] by wearing a Christmas jumper, I might just frighten the kids so the Christmas jumper is a no no. […] I can see his point to a degree… They need stability… They like to see a familiar driver… But really I think the kids actually like Christmas.
Surely they receive presents and they must all be fans of Father Christmas so let’s all join in the festive spirit and wear our Christmas jumpers.
Mike has now criticised the ‘absurd’ new rule, branding boss Peter Bryden a ‘Scrooge’:
It’s really absurd. I love Peter, he is a great boss but I can’t believe what he is saying. The Christmas jumper ban is so stupid and daft.
It’s like something Scrooge would do. It’s almost like Fawlty Towers – it’s ridiculous.
Mike has pointed out that Stagecoach which also operates in the area – has no such bans in place:
Stagecoach has a Santa’s grotto on four wheels with elves, it’s fantastic. It’s complete with music and elves as well – I hope the elves don’t scare the passengers. I even saw Pudsey Bear driving a bus the other day.
Peter, 71, has denied being a ‘Scrooge’ and has insisted he isn’t ‘against Christmas’:
We have to be careful. We don’t want to spoil drivers’ fun but we have rules and regulations that we have to follow.
One of the biggest concerns is around having Christmas decorations on our minibuses. If anything is obscuring your view, an inspector can pull up our drivers for this and fine them.
We also transport a number of children with special needs that we need to be considerate of. We don’t want to do anything that might upset them.
Mike has since resigned from the company. However, this is reportedly not on account of the Christmas jumper ban.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.