BOSTON (CBS) – Wednesday July 11th started as a typical day for Kevin Brooks.
“That day I was on my regular routine I leave the shop around 4 p.m. to catch the bus to the boat,” Brooks said.
The 35-year-old lives in New Bedford, but travels to the Vineyard to work as a barber and relies on public transit.
On that Wednesday, when he got out of work and tried to board a bus, something unusual happened.
“When I see the bus coming I walk by like I do every time. I stick my hand out they stop I get on the bus. I do the same thing this time. We make eye contact and he [the driver] just keeps going. I can tell he’s not going to stop,” Brooks said to WBZ-TV.
The driver didn’t stop. Brooks said that’s when he decided to hitch an Uber ride and follow the bus.
He said he watched as the driver made stops and let other passengers on board. When the driver reached his final stop, Brooks confronted him.
“I pulled in, I got out of the car, I waited for everyone to get off. I politely asked him, I said ‘excuse me sir what was the reason you didn’t stop for me in Edgartown?’ And he said the bus was full,” Brooks explained. “And I said the bus wasn’t full, the bus counts how many people, you would’ve stopped to say something. He was like ‘it’s because you’re black.'”
Brooks said he walked away from the incident “teary eyed and had to get myself together.”
He then reported the incident to the Martha’s Vineyard Transit Authority.
“[They] called and said we have the video we’re going to watch it and handle it. I was like if it doesn’t have sound it’s my word against his word and it’s not going to go well,” said Brooks.
But the surveillance video did have sound. And a day after the incident, the transit authority released a statement that reads in part: “We have zero tolerance for this type of behavior. The vehicle operator involved in this incident has been terminated effective immediately.”
Brooks is now pursuing legal action. And said he decided to speak out to set an example for his daughter.
“I’m hoping that my experience will give her the courage to stand up for injustice. Hopefully she never has to deal with it,” Brooks said.