ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - It wasn't exactly a warm welcome for a couple of Albuquerque visitors.
It was the week of Albuquerque's Pride Festival when a gay couple says they flew into the city.
Just minutes after arriving and getting their bags, they said a shuttle bus driver at the Albuquerque Sunport forced them to sit in the back of the bus because they were holding hands.
This happened about a month ago, but the couple said they still haven't received a formal apology from Stardard Parking, one of the private shuttle companies serving the airport, and they are considering legal action.
Ron McCoy and his partner, Chris Bowers, flew into Albuquerque from Portland, Ore., on Friday, June 28 — two days after the nation's highest court made historic rulings for same-sex marriage couples and the day before Albuquerque's PrideFest.
The couple was here for a long-awaited road trip through the Southwest, but their excitement soon died down.
McCoy said he and his partner sat in the front of a shuttle bus, holding hands when a driver discriminated against them.
"I saw him look at us, look down at his hands and he looked so angry," McCoy said. "He just blurted out at me, he goes, "'Okay, if you're going to do that, you're going to the back of the bus.'"
Shocked and not wanting to cause problems, the couple obeyed.
Once the shuttle stopped at its destination, however, the couple asked the driver why he forced them to move.
"I said, ‘I think it was because you didn't like the fact that I was holding my partner's hand.' He goes, ‘See, now you're telling on yourself.' My partner responds, 'Well, that's discrimination,' and the driver responds, ‘You're telling on yourself again,'" McCoy said.
A woman, originally from Albuquerque, witnessed the confrontation and jumped in.
"I told the bus driver that I was completely appalled that anybody would be treated this way," said Bernadette Aguirre.
"And the driver looks back at us and goes, 'I'll show you what's appalling,' and he points to us," McCoy said.
The Sunport contracts Standard Parking to run the rental car shuttle buses.
"First and foremost, it is absolutely unacceptable," said Dan Jiron, Sunport spokesperson. "We immediately got in touch with Standard Parking to assess what exactly happened. They acknowledged this was a mistake on the part of the driver."
But McCoy says no one ever apologized to him or Bowers.
"I took it personally, and I'm still upset," McCoy said. "I don't have any closure. Neither of us do."
McCoy said before flying home, he and his partner had a different shuttle driver and had no problems while holding hands.
The two say they filed a complaint with the American Civil Liberties Union.
A Standard Parking manager told KRQE News 13 that the driver was inappropriate and got carried away, although he did not consider it discrimination.
The driver in question is still working for Standard Parking.
The manager said he has worked for the company for more than 10 years, and they have never had problems with him in the past.
The company will now require all drivers to take sensitivity training.
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