Bus Driver Tells Migrants 'You're Welcome'

Bus Driver Tells Migrants 'You're Welcome'

A German bus driver who used his rusty high-school English to welcome refugees has been praised after his speech went viral.

Sven Latteyer thought the 15 asylum seekers who boarded his bus in the city of Erlangen seemed in need of cheering up, perhaps feeling a bit lost in a new country, he told thelocal.de.

Mr Latteyer, who is reported to be 42, said he managed to string together a few sentences in English, saying: "I have an important message for all people from the whole world in this bus: I want to say welcome.

"Welcome to Germany, welcome to my country. Have a nice day!"

One passenger posted about the moment on Facebook, where thousands of people read how the speech was granted with "incredulous looks, then all laughing and clapping, the whole bus, including the Germans" and "one of the African boys wiped a little tear from his eyes".

Mr Latteyer told nordbayern.de he had been inspired to welcome the newcomers through knowing the experiences of his Kosovan brother-in-law and his German grandfather who lost his arm in World War Two.

He said: "My brother-in-law doesn't talk a lot about the years 1998 and 1999 when the war was raging in Kosovo. He's trying to forget the horror."

Mr Latteyer, who is also a volunteer firefighter, added that war is "horrific" and anyone fleeing it should be given refuge in Germany.

He said he wasn't sure how he could help the migrants but the answer turned out to be simple: "Saying 'hey guys, you're really welcome'."

The story even touched TV presenter Claus Kleber, who appeared teary as he reported it on ZDF television's daily news.

The number of people seeking asylum in European countries has increased substantially, with most coming from places such as Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea.

Germany has received almost 180,000 applications for asylum in the first half of this year - twice the number it had received during the same period last year.

Erlangen's local government says about a quarter of the population there - around 27,000 people - have an immigrant background.

But not everybody has been as welcoming of the newcomers, with a surge in attacks on their accommodation, including vandalism and arson by far right groups.

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