Virgin Trains has apologised to Olympic gymnast Louis Smith after he complained that only black passengers had their tickets checked in a first class carriage.
Smith claimed he and another black man were the only people asked to prove they had first class tickets by a staff member serving drinks on an East Coast train.
The former Strictly Come Dancing contestant posted a series of messages on Twitter about the alleged incident, which he called “interesting and political”.
He claimed the other black passenger confronted the staff member who responded: “It’s my choice who I ask.”
“Well the quite upset and understandably intrigued gentleman asks why he’s only asked the only 2 black passengers if they are meant to be in first class and to prove it.. yikes!!” Smith said.
“This escalated quickly .. is it just a coincidence or not, what do you think!?”
Smith said the Virgin Train worker had served drinks to three or four other passengers, who were not black, without checking their tickets.
He added that the other black passenger spoke to the train manager who called the drink server’s behaviour “wrong” and apologised.
He also claimed the manager said the drink server “isn’t allowed to check tickets anyway but can ask if you’re seated in 1st class”.
So the gentleman just went and spoke to the train manager aboard this @Virgin_TrainsEC and the manager said it’s was wrong and apologised for the mans behaviour and to Tweet and complain, the waitor isn’t allowed to check tickets anyway but can ask if your seated in 1st class!!
— Louis Smith MBE (@louissmith1989) June 7, 2018
In a tweet, Virgin Trains offered its “sincerest apologies” to Smith and said a complaint would be investigated.
Hi Louis. Please accept my sincerest apologies for this. I have spoken to the Train Manager on this service at length about what has happened and there will be a complaint logged and investigated. ^BG
— Virgin Trains EC (@Virgin_TrainsEC) June 7, 2018
Smith, 29, won a silver and bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympics as well as a bronze at Beijing 2008 and a silver at Rio 2016.
He was crowned the winner of Strictly Come Dancing with partner Flavia Cacace in 2012.