A bus ride meant to empower turns to tears, women say

A bus ride meant to empower turns to tears, women say »Play Video
Brooke Tedder, left, and her mother, Brenda Spevak, say a TriMet bus driver was rude during a bus ride that was meant to be empowering.

TIGARD, Ore. – Brooke Tedder doesn't fully understand why the bus driver was yelling. But she knows she's supposed to show her "Honored Citizen" pass and pay a dollar to get on the bus.

What she does understand is a hurtful tone of voice. She can feel it.

"He was making me cry," she said.

Brooke is 30 years old, but she has the mental capacity of a 7-year-old. She was riding the bus with a program meant to empower people with disabilities; instead, she feels broken down and frustrated, and her mother, Brenda Spevak, is outraged after she said the TriMet bus driver brought her daughter to tears.

"There's no excuse. What kind of a man picks on someone that's a disabled female?" she said.

Kayla David, with Empowerment Services, was supervising Brooke and another person with a disability. She said the driver became impatient as they all searched for their passes.

"The bus driver yells at us twice, and he says, 'Get on the bus. Get on the bus.' And my first reaction was, please don't talk to them that way," Kayla said.

She said the driver ignored her and stepped on the gas, almost knocking them off their feet. Then he refused to give his name or apologize.

"She was bawling her eyes out," said Kayla. "(She was) saying, 'Why is this always me? Why are people always yelling at me?' And I tried to explain it to her that it's not her fault, and he was just being rude."

It's not exactly what a mother wants to hear her daughter went through.

"It's your biggest fear as a parent of a disabled child," said Brenda. "You send them out into the community and you can't always be there for them, and you just hope nothing's going to happen."

Kayla filed a complaint with TriMet on Wednesday afternoon.

KATU News contacted TriMet in the evening to get a copy of that complaint and any video that exists, but a spokeswoman said it will be at least Thursday before she can gather the appropriate information.

She did say TriMet will investigate every complaint that comes in.

Brooke's mother emailed KATU about what happened to her daughter. You can reach the newsroom, just like she did, by emailing newstips@katu.com.