SAN FRANCISCO—Toni Young, 45, has filed a civil rights lawsuit against Greyhound after being kicked off by bus driver Cynthia Lara. The incident took place in 2014, but Young claims she has suffered from severe psychological trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety. The lawsuit is calling for punitive damages to Young’s acquired conditions after the incident.
Young’s attorney Michael Adams made comparisons of Young’s case resembling the historical Rosa Parks incident. According to Adams, Young, an African-American woman had boarded the bus at the San Francisco station en route to a family celebration. Adams stated the incident occurred as she was making a transfer at the Oakland station where she took a seat at the front of the bus.
After taking the seat, Lara requested Young move to the back of the bus to give her seat to an elderly woman who was expected to board at Sacramento. Young explained to Lara she would be getting off at the Sacramento station so the seat would be clear by the time of her arrival, but Lara insisted Young get up anyway.
According to Adams, as Young began to get out of her seat she calmly said to her, “You don’t have to have an attitude about this,” which resulted in Lara aggressively stating she did not have an attitude and calling for security to remove Young from the bus. According to the lawsuit, Lara then called out a racial slur.
Young ultimately missed her family celebration due to the incident, and calls the event “the most dehumanizing incident of my life.” According to Young, she waited several hours at the Oakland station before the next bus arrived. As Young was waiting for the next bus she asked the security guard for forms to file a formal complaint, but the guard stated they were out. When Young requested to speak to the station manager, she was told the manager was not currently at the station.
Young has stated she will never ride another Greyhound again.