Train guard stands up to racism

Matt Litton from Wigan with passenger Sanaa Shahid. Matt stopped another passenger from racially abusing her.
Matt Litton from Wigan with passenger Sanaa Shahid. Matt stopped another passenger from racially abusing her.

A train guard from Wigan who came to the aid of a woman being racially abused on a train has been praised for standing up to intolerance.

Matt Tillon was working on a Glasgow-bound Virgin Trains service from London when Sanaa Shahid and her four-year-old son were accosted by another passenger.

During the incident, which occurred in late December, Matt caught Alexander MacKinnon telling Mrs Shahid that she “did not belong” in the first-class cabin and that she “shouldn’t be in this country at all.”

Challenging him over his comments, he told MacKinnon: “We’re not going to accept it. You’re drunk and racist and you need to get off the train,” before eventually kicking him off the carriage.

The 42-year-old, who is originally from Rossendale was commended for his actions at the Scottish Transport Awards last Thursday evening.

Speaking of the incident, Matt said: “For anyone working in the transport or customer service industry, we’re paid to be tolerant and patient. But there are certain situations that we can’t tolerate and we can’t accept.

“We can’t accept racism. I wouldn’t expect to go about my life being treated like that, so why should anyone else have to put up with it?”

His actions were praised by Sanaa, who said Matt had “restored my faith in humanity and gave my son and I immense comfort during a very difficult period. He was the only person in our carriage who came to our help.

“He went above and beyond his call of duty when he stood up for us.”