‘I’m a Christian first, then a bus driver’ says sacked faith-head
Those defiant words were uttered by South African bus driver Jerome Rose after he was sacked for ignoring a warning not to lead passengers in prayer on his Cape Town bus at the start of each journey.
According to this report, his parting words to the MyCiTi bus company were:
That’s okay. God has bigger plans for me.
Rose, who has been driving the Cape Town/Atlantis route for the past year, said he was given a verbal warning last Friday to stop leading passengers in prayer after a passenger submitted a written complaint.
But on Monday, I prayed again. I am a Christian first, then a bus driver.
A colleague apparently caught the prayer session on video, and on Tuesday he was given a final written warning. But on Wednesday, Rose again started the day with a prayer.
I prayed to thank God for allowing us to see another day and for Him to bless our journey. And like always, it was met with a loud ‘amen’.
He was suspended and attended a disciplinary hearing on Thursday, and a day later was sacked. He said:
I lost my job for a good cause. My faith is more important to me.
Rose, however, plans to appeal the ruling.
For all the months I have been doing this, I have not once received any complaints from passengers. They closed their eyes and afterward thanked me for asking God to bless and protect them. What I did is not wrong. I was fully committed to my job. I was good at what I did. But this is all part of God’s plan for me. His will be done.
Mayoral committee member for transport, Brett Herron, said the bus driver was initially asked to:
Refrain from leading the passengers in prayer as there are passengers from mixed faiths on the MyCiTi bus who take exception to the practice.
It is important for us all to acknowledge the fact that the residents of Cape Town and visitors to our city belong to different faiths, or that some of us may not be religious at all.
Hat tip: Ate Berga.