Bus firm sacks driver who left work early for son’s birth

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A BUS driver has been sacked from his job after leaving work early to be at the birth of his son.

Shaun Hooley had been on his shift with Barnsley-based Tates Travel for four hours when he received a call to say his partner, Rebecca Asquith, had gone into labour.

The 38-year-old, who had been a driver for 17 years but worked for the firm for just 10 weeks, telephoned his bosses and asked for a cover driver to be organised, so that he could get to the town’s General Hospital.

“Obviously I wanted to be there for the birth of my first son,” Mr Hooley said.

“I made several phone calls to the office trying to come up with a solution to the problem.

“I didn’t say I had to leave straight away,” said Mr Hooley. “I didn’t stop the bus and just rush off.

“I did what I thought was the responsible thing. In the meantime I carried on driving the bus.

“I made more calls but I was getting nowhere so I drove my bus back to the depot.

“I was told by the boss of the company I had sacked myself because of my actions.”

He added: “I thought they would be compassionate. I’ve lost my job but I did get to the hospital in time and I was there for the birth of my son Jacob Thomas.”

Tates Travel managing director Graham Mallinson said: “He was 14 miles from the depot when he phoned to say he wanted time off to attend his baby’s birth.

“That was about four hours after he started his shift.

“We told him we would try to get a relief driver and at 9.40 we had organised one.

“We phoned him but he didn’t reply. He came back to the depot a little after 10am with an empty bus and he was told he was in breach of his contract and he was dismissed.

“He was on a three-month trial.”