“It’s 2016. How can people be like this?”
Jason Thompson is left scratching his (white-haired) head after a bizarre and upsetting incident on board a TTC bus on Tuesday.
Thompson says he and his son Xavier, four, were waiting at Victoria Park Station around 2 p.m. They were singing silly songs and generally being goofy. They boarded the 12 bus, headed home to play with Xavier’s new Lego, but it stopped around Gerrard Street.
The driver, Thompson said, wouldn’t let anybody off. He yelled up to the driver, who told him that control was making them wait. He then took his son to the front of the bus and asked to get off. No one was allowed on or off, the driver told him.
Then, two Toronto police officers showed up.
“They were really quiet, really respecting my privacy, and they walked me and my son off the bus. They told me, ‘We got a call saying something didn’t look right, something was off, because the father doesn’t look like the son.'”
At that point, Thompson said, he nearly cried.
Thompson has albinism. His wife, who is East Indian, also has albinism. His son Xavier does not.
Thompson is left wondering if someone called police because “they saw this white guy and this brown kid.”
“I could see if I was dragging him, or he was crying, but that wasn’t it. It feels like there’s something else going on here.”
Thompson was surprised and humiliated.
“Everyone on the bus is staring at us, thinking ‘oh, this guy who was so anxious to get off the bus, now the cops are talking to him.'”
Thompson has nothing but respect for Toronto police officers, who were “so respectful and kind” during the ordeal. He said officers gave him a ride home and turned on the siren for his son.
When Thompson got home, he had to explain what happened to Xavier, who luckily, took it all in stride.
“I talked to him about it when we got home. I told him, ‘someone thought I wasn’t your daddy.’ And he said, ‘but you are my daddy.’ And I said, ‘I am.’ And for him, the matter was settled.”
For Thompson, it still rankles.
“I said to the officers, we live in Toronto, and they just looked at me, like yeah we know. I would never a question a kid with a different race parent.”