The Sun said:Grandad sacked for breaching barmy health and safety rules
A BUS driver has been sacked for eating a GRAPE while sitting on a stationary bus with no passengers on board.
Grandad Michael Shepherd claims he ate the piece of fruit as he was sitting alone on the bus at the terminus before his shift.
And he says he was only munching on the grape to quench his thirst because the medication he takes after having a heart-by-pass last year gives him a dry mouth.
But despite his protests the 66-year-old has been axed by bosses National Express on health and safety grounds.
Mr Shephard said: "I don't eat or drink while I am driving but I was just sat stationary at the bus terminus for a few minutes and took a grape to wet my mouth a bit.
"I had a heart by-pass 12 months ago and the medication dries your mouth so I just take a sip of water or a grape sometimes when I'm sat at the station or the terminus.
"I explained why I needed to have a sip of water or a grape every hour or so but they said it was still against health and safety rules.
"I think it is ridiculous they are following the rules without stopping to consider whether the punishment fits the crime."
Mr Shephard's actions were caught on CCTV which was used as grounds for his dismissal on February 29.
He claims he was still eating the grape as he drove off from the terminus, and may then have scratched his nose or touched his face.
But he says the action led bosses to accuse him of continuing to eat while he was at the wheel.
Mr Shephard, who lives in Coventry with his wife Shelia, 62, is concerned that he will not find work again because he is past retirement age.
He said: "We haven't paid off our mortgage yet and we might lose the house. I'm very worried. Who is going to employ an old man like me now?"
After five years of loyal service Mr Shephard will appeal National Express' decision to dismiss him.
A spokesman for National Express said: "The driver in question hasn't exhausted the disciplinary process that we have as a company and as a result we cannot make any public comment.
"However we do hold ourselves to high levels of safety and customer care standards.
"This incident followed a series of official warnings issued to the driver regarding his safety standards. The safety of our customers, pedestrians and other road users is our absolute priority and we cannot accept a driver not being in full control of the vehicle."