When you come across subtle racism you don't often tend to notice it immediately, but when you're confronted with a blatant example, it tends to blow me away.
And that is what happened last night on the 6.45pm Onetangi bus.
The bus driver - Alan Davies who last year stood unsuccessfully for the community board and often makes submission at Waiheke community board meetings and is the Waiheke Island Grey Power branch chairman - took it on himself to check everybody's credentials to see whether they qualified for a discounted bus fare. So far so bureaucratically good, I hear you say. There was a mix of Waiheke high and Australian students wanting to get on, they did without trouble and got a student fare after showing their student ID.
When we got to the Red Cross, a Japanese student showed his Japanese student card but Mr Davies was unimpressed and insisted on a full fare, saying: "Only New Zealand high school student cards are valid for discounted fares". The student was bemused, got off the bus and decided to walk instead. Note that the Australian students earlier at Matiatia had no problem (they were young and pretty, always a good tactic).
Then at Blackpool, a mother and daughter got on and the daughter told Mr Davies she was a Waiheke High student but didn't have her student card on her. He let her board at a discounted fare without a murmur.
So do I conclude that Mr Davies is doing a sterling job in keeping the Yellow Peril off our Waiheke buses (and isn't that what we fought for in the War?) and can use discretion and racist attitudes in determining who rides on his bus and at what price?
Hence I have laid a formal complaint with the Waiheke Bus Company about this.
UPDATE 28 JAN: The Waiheke Bus Company management finally replied to me saying they "have spoken with the driver concerned and are happy with the outcome." No specification what the "outcome" was. It certainly wasn't giving him the sack because I have seen him drive a bus last Monday.