An Egyptian man was shocked when he was abused by a bus driver for using the colloquial term ‘me ‘ansum’ and was told he couldn’t say it.
Raggaa Komos, 70, opted to say the Cornish phrase to thank the driver but received abuse in return.
The driver said to Raggaa: “You’re not from Cornwall. You can’t say that, you’re not Cornish!”
Raggaa, who was born in Egypt but has lived in the UK for 40 years, said that incidents of intolerance to foreigners has increased since Brexit.
Ragaa, a retired computer systems analyst, had been out for an afternoon to meet a friend in Truro, Cornwall.
He then caught a bus home to Redruth at around 7pm, when he was abused by the First Kernow bus driver.
Mr Komos, who speaks English perfectly but with a foreign accent, said: “I said to him, ‘have a good evening me’ ansum’.
“He shouted at me, ‘you’re not from Cornwall. You can’t say that! You’re not Cornish!”
“The bus was empty except for one lady sitting near the driver.
“When the people leave the bus, they say ‘thank you’ but I feel it’s empty. Instead I say ‘Have a good day’ or ‘evening’.
“When he shouted at me and I felt his anger. I wondered what would make someone want to talk like that. I felt I was racially assaulted.
“I know the word as the locals use it.
“I say ‘me ‘ansum’ and I use it everywhere. I was acting like the Roman. I was not doing anything wrong.
“I know Cornwall is a proud nation and do understand the Trewlany story. In a sense I was paying him a compliment by wishing him a good evening.”
He said he believed intolerance to foreigners has escalated since the Brexit referendum, even against those who are not even from Europe.
“I think the hatred has increased, from the way people look at me and their tone,” he said. “Since the Brexit, the attitude has become hostile.
“I am sick and tired of it. I know and understand the Cornish have a grievance against the English but people need to be educated.
“I don’t cause trouble and don’t know why trouble follows me.
“Most of the bus drivers know me by my first name. As well, the bus is a public service. The man should be respectful.”
A spokesman for First Kernow said: “We can confirm that we are looking into a customer complaint regarding driver behaviour.
“This investigation has only just got under way and we’re still establishing the facts, however we want to reassure customers that the company takes appropriate action in cases where there is a shortfall in customer service.”
By Graeme Wilkinson and John Bett