A Peter Pan bus driver, angry because of a complaint about his driving, kept the bus at a Framingham layover for an extra half hour as punishment and wouldn't allow passengers on the New York to Boston trip to get off, passengers said.
Riders told The Boston Globe that the driver said he was miffed because one of them had called the company dispatcher to complain the driver had been swerving during the first leg of Sunday's trip.
"Since you aggravated me, I'm going to aggravate you," the driver told passengers, according to Brian Moore, 21, an Emerson College junior who posted an account of the incident on his personal blog.
Leigh Schuelke, 23, an event planner from Cambridge who was traveling with her husband, James, 23, said passengers initially thought the driver was kidding because he looked at them with "kind of like this crazed, creepy smile."
But it soon became apparent he was serious. When one man asked to get off the bus and reclaim his luggage, the driver looked at the man's ticket and told him, "I can't get your bags."
The driver ignored a passenger who asked to continue for the sake of her baby, as well as apologies on behalf of the rider who offended him, according to Moore's blog post. He also refused to allow passengers to smoke or buy snacks, repeating that this was punishment.
"He explained it to us over and over," Schuelke said. "He seemed to be enjoying, just like sticking it to us."
After the half hour ended, the driver raced down the turnpike, flying through toll booths, Leigh Schuelke said.
Christopher Crean, director of safety and security for Springfield-based Peter Pan Bus Lines, declined to identify the driver, except to say he was in his early 30s with three years on the job.
"If any of this came even close to happening, the driver could in some cases be subject to termination," Crean said. "It's definitely become an issue. And the more I dig, the less I like."
The bus left New York at 1 p.m. on Sunday and arrived in Framingham at 4:35 p.m., about a half hour ahead of schedule. On weekdays, the bus must wait 25 minutes to pick up any passengers, but on Sundays it can go straight through, Crean said.
Crean said the driver acknowledged a dispatcher contacted him to report the passenger's complaint, but he denied retaliating. The driver said he stopped because he didn't know he could continue immediately to Boston, Crean said.
Crean said he also received a handwritten letter commending the driver for dealing respectfully with the "agitated" passengers. The Globe and Peter Pan could not reach the woman who signed the letter.
Moore, a film major, said some friends have suggested the incident at Framingham would make a good script.
"It would be like 'Speed,' " he said, "but maybe a little more boring because it wouldn't be moving."