Blind man assaulted on bus for requesting to sit in disabled seating

A blind man was reportedly threatened with being stabbed by a woman when he asked to sit in the disabled seating of a bus

Gaspare Mizzi was threatened and assaulted when has asked to sit in the disabled seat of a bus. (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)
Gaspare Mizzi was threatened and assaulted when has asked to sit in the disabled seat of a bus. (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)

An elderly blind man was reportedly threatened and assaulted when he asked a couple if he could sit in the disabled seating of a bus.

Gaspare Mizzi from Ta’ Giorni was on his way home from a hospital appointment when he asked a couple if he could sit in the disabled seating on the bus, which turned into a barrage of punches and slurs.

Mizzi, 68, who became blind two years ago after an accident, was visiting the hospital for a general check-up with his wife Maria Mizzi. The elderly couple boarded the number 22 bus and headed for the allocated disabled seating located in the front of the public bus, only to be met by a couple and their children who were occupying the designated seating.

Maria, Gaspare’s wife, asked the mother to vacate one of the seats occupied by three-year-old child in order for Gaspare to sit down.

According to Gaspare's daughter, Marouska, due to his impaired vision and age, Gaspare can’t remain standing up on the bus as he would lose his balance as the bus accelerates and brakes.

Gaspare's daughter, Marouska, posted on Facebook about the accident.
Gaspare's daughter, Marouska, posted on Facebook about the accident.

Marouska took to Facebook to vent her anger at the way her father was treated, with many appalled by the behaviour. In her Facebook post, she said the mother proceeded to argue with elderly couple and disputed that the seating was also allocated for pushchairs.

The argument heated up, and the mother proceeded to assault Gaspare, punching him in the face.

“My wife tried to shelter me from her punches and I did the best I could with my walking stick, but I still couldn’t completely defend myself,” Gaspare said.

The argument continued to escalate with the mother shouting at the couple that she would “pluck his eyes out and throw them out of the window”.

“She even said that if she had a knife in her hand, she would stab me in my stomach,” Gaspare claimed.

Gaspare Mizzi and his wife Maria
Gaspare Mizzi and his wife Maria

The father of the children who were witnessing everything playing out, proceeded to shout at the elderly man’s face, and even banged on the window behind his head, before being dragged away by an onlooker, Gaspare recalled.

The enraged couple also took photos of Gaspare and his wife, with the mother threatening them that they couldn’t do anything as she had relatives in the police force.

The bus driver reportedly did not intervene during the altercation.

The elderly couple issued an official police report.

When contacted by MaltaToday, a Tal-Linja spokesperson said that a request for the CCTV footage has already been made by the police force. 

The spokesperson also said that when faced with a similar situation, the driver has the option of either calling the Tal-Linja control room in order to be guided on how to handle the situation, or in worse situations directly contact emergency services. 

Maria, Gaspare's wife, told MaltaToday that she's now scared to go on public transport. She said that she has already started to learn how to drive, aged 64, and this incident has only made her want to learn more so she wouldn't have to face public transport.

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