Virgin Trains’ manager given award for standing up to racial abuse

Virgin Trains’ manager Matt Litton was working the London to Glasgow route when a mother said she had been racially abused by another passenger.

Matt intervened to stop the racist rant and made sure the abuser was removed from the train and arrested.

Sanaa Shahid said Matt had “restored her faith in humanity” and the 42-year-old has now been given an award for his brave actions. 

Virgin Trains Matt Litton

Sanaa said Matt was the only person who stood up for them and said she was “very pleased Matt has received the recognition he deserves”.

Matt was praised for “standing up to intolerance” and commended in the Frontline Employee of the Year category at the Scottish Transport Awards, organised by Transport Times.

Sanaa, who had been heading home to Glasgow after visiting her husband who is working in London, said: “I believe he genuinely went above and beyond his call of duty when he stood up for my son and I that day by telling Alexander Mackinnon his behaviour will not be tolerated any further and arranging his swift removal from the train. We need more people like Matt around us, who aren’t afraid to speak up when they see injustice." 

Matt, a father-of-two from Wigan, has been a manager for Virgin Trains for more than 15 years.

His actions have been praised by the panel judges, British Transport Police and Scotland’s Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf MSP, who attended last night’s ceremony in Glasgow.

Mr Yousaf said: “Everyone in our communities has the right to live and work safely in 21st century Scotland, including when travelling on our rail network. Matt is a real example of how we must stand up to defend Scotland’s diversity and inclusion when faced with unacceptable hate crimes.”

David Begg, Chief Executive of Transport Times and chair of the awards judging committee, said: “The judges were very impressed with the way he stood up to intolerance. It is vital that we continue to recognise those who showcase the courage to eradicate racism within our industry and society as a whole.”

To find out more about working at Virgin Trains, head to the Virgin Trains Careers website. 

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