A couple were thrown off a bus and branded racists after singing the Peppa Pig theme tune to their autistic daughter, it has been claimed.
Nick Barnfield and Sarah Cleaves were travelling with their daughter Heidi on a bus from Sheffield to Doncaster when the 15-month-old started crying.
The couple, who live in Rotherham, started singing the song in an effort to cheer their daughter up, but say they were branded racists by another passenger and told to get off the bus by its driver.
The couple claimed the woman, who they saw was wearing a hijab, took offence to the snorting sounds in the song and believed they were a reference to how pork is forbidden in Islam though this has not been confirmed.
She complained to the bus’s driver, who, it is claimed, then told the couple it would be ‘easier’ for them to get off two miles from their home.
‘We were really embarrassed, ashamed and upset and we hadn’t done anything wrong, just trying to make our little girl happy, but people were looking at us as if we had done something wrong.
‘It was humiliating,’ said Mr Branfield.
The 24-year-old said they were trying to settle their daughter on the X78 bus on September 8 when they were approached ‘aggressively’ by the woman.
‘A lady came up to us and quite aggressively started telling us we were irresponsible parents and that we were being racist singing the song.’
‘She went up to the bus driver and told him we were being racist towards her and she wasn’t happy. The driver came up to me and said we had to get off the bus or the police would have to come.
‘He said: ‘just get off the bus – it’s not worth the hassle’. I was really shocked because we had done nothing wrong but he didn’t listen to us.
‘He just said: “Go now, otherwise you’ll hold up all the passengers and no-one will be happy.”‘
‘I was more upset at the bus driver not taking in both sides – he just heard the word racism and kicked us off.
‘I’m annoyed he didn’t listen to our side of the story or ask any questions.’
A spokesman for First confirmed the couple did get off the bus following a conversation with a female Asian passenger and the bus driver, but claimed the bus driver had no knowledge of allegations of racism.
‘CCTV confirms that Mr Branfield had left the bus as he described and it does clearly show a conversation between the driver, a female Asian customer and the customer Mr Branfield who has logged the complaint with us.
‘In terms of what was said we are investigating it and we’re in discussions with Mr Branfield.
‘We’re looking at the circumstances in which he left the vehicle – I don’t want to speculate about his concerns that he was asked to leave but we want to be clear from both sides what happened.
‘The driver told us he heard no reference to racism but we are investigating the incident and have not yet drawn a conclusion.’
South Yorkshire Police said it was not investigating the incident.