A taxi driver who decided to put on a mini pop concert for a disabled lad who was a regular customer has been tracked down by cops who then fined the boy’s father for breaking quarantine restrictions.
Because he is confined to a wheelchair, 10-year-old Kyano van Beurden is taken to school every day from his home in Tilburg in the Netherlands in a taxi driven by 62-year-old Frans Swinkels.
But with the coronavirus lockdown, school has been closed and the lad has been lonely away from friends and teachers for six weeks now.
When kindhearted Frans heard, he decided to do something to cheer him up, and because he was an amateur musician, he decided to give him a personal performance.
He said: “I wanted to organise something beautiful for Kyano. I am committed to him and I like to think I have a special relationship with the lad.
“That little man loves to hear music in the car, he laughs and acts crazy. My son Danny is in music, so I thought we might surprise him.”
He said when he told Danny he had encouraged him to make it happen. He added: “We wanted to do everything to put a smile on Kyano’s face.”
He added that he had not expected any trouble because there is a nearby residential home where three of times a week musicians perform for the old people. But this time around the performance was stopped in mid-flow when two police cars stopped in front of the house.
He said inside were eight police officers, to deal with the small group of 11 people who insist that they were all properly distanced from each other as they had set up the equipment for the mini concert.
Dad William van Beurden was told by the police that he was responsible for staging the event, and was told that the fine would be 4,000 EUR (3,478 GBP), something impossible for him to pay with all the costs of caring for his disabled son.
However after an outrage reaction on social media, the local council said that there had been a mistake as the amount was meant for people organising concerts on a professional level, and it was reduced to the standard fine for a member of the public, 390 EUR (339 GBP).
A spokesman for the council said: “The concert was a sweet, warm gesture but everybody that was there was going too far, and we really cannot accept this sort of thing in these difficult times. They were fined because the concert continued even after the police arrived.”
But Irma Galama from the office od Mayor Theo van de Wetering said: “There is a misunderstanding about the 4,000 euros. It was only for organisers. The fine for residents of Tilburg is 390 euros. We are now discussing this. ” But according to the boys family they have not been told anything officially.”
Mum Mendy de Jong said she was pleased that the amount had been reduced from 4,000 EUR, but added that the council had not been telling the truth in saying that they had been fined for continuing after police arrived. She said: “It was just a small gesture among friends organised by a man with a heart of gold and everybody kept the social distancing rules. What happened is so unfair.”
Frans meanwhile had started a fund raiser to get the cash to cover the fine.
Mendy said: “I think this fundraiser is great I am not concerned with the money, but with the principle. We have followed the rules in this way and understand that you should not organize events. But we live opposite a nursing home, and music is played there a few times a week. They do it because the old folks are stuck there bored, but that also applies to our Kyano. He has also been stuck between four walls for six weeks. ”
For his part, Frans said he was devastated by the way things turned out. He told local media: “I feel so guilty about it. I literally couldn’t sleep after it happened and I’m still having bad dreams. It was all going so well and then this. It really isn’t normal.”
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Story By: Michael Leidig, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News