A man who was left with no nose or ears after he was burned in a horrific incident claims he was refused to sit his driving theory test because he “didn’t match his ID”.
Darren Harris, 29, from Middlesbrough, was left fighting for his life in hospital when he was electrocuted by 11,000 volts while urban exploring last year.
Against all odds, he survived the ordeal but was left “severely disfigured”, with no nose or ears and scarring across 47 per cent of his body.
But Darren said he was left in floods of tears after experiencing “disgusting discrimination” when he was told he couldn’t sit his theory test because he didn’t look like the photo on his ID, which was taken before the incident.
Despite sitting the test with “no issues” twice before, Darren was making a third attempt to pass at Northallerton B test centre when he claims the manager asked him to remove his hat.
He told the Mirror : “I came away absolutely distraught with a big lump in my throat. I was crying my heart out.
“He said ‘its not my problem you shouldn’t have changed your appearance, you didn’t change your identification’.
“I said I wasn’t ready to change my identification yet because I’m still coming to terms with my new appearance but he was being really awkward with me.
“I feel like I’ve been discriminated against to the highest level.
“There was even another lad there who tried to help me, he said to him listen you can see the man is trying he’s got his bank card his ID and proof of him sitting his test before, why are you refusing him’ and the guy said ‘because his face doesn’t match his ID’.”
Former scaffolder Darren, claims that the dispute began in the centre when the manager told him to remove his hat for the test.
But since his accident, Darren has used hats to hide his appearance, even wearing them to bed at times, and claims he had not had any issues wearing a hat during his previous two tests.
Darren said: “I sleep with my hat on, I wear my hat all day, even around the house.
“I said to him you can’t expect me to sit in there in front of a load of strangers with my bare head on display.
“I’ve had a major trauma and loads of burns across my head. He said ‘its not my problem mate you won’t be doing your test then’.
“I asked him ‘why are you being this hard on me’ and brought my old pictures up.
“I said ‘there’s the face I was born with but unfortunately 18 months ago it was stripped away from me, can you not see that I’m trying to give you everything to prove who I am’.
“But he had no sympathy or remorse.”
Darren was in a coma for 27 days and underwent 23 surgeries after his arms were completely debrided following his accident in November 2021.
He survived sepsis, multiple organ failure and had a craniotomy to relieve pressure on his brain.
But after his discharge, Darren had a mental battle to overcome and experienced suicidal thoughts as a result of his new appearance and scarring.
He said: “I don’t like going out at the best of times and I’ve come out, taken a train journey to do this and to be refused to do the test I’m absolutely disgusted.”
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency told the Mirror it was investigating the incident.
A spokesperson said: “DVSA will investigate this incident with its theory test provider as a matter of urgency.
“We always aim to treat all candidates with respect. We apologise for the distress caused and we will contact the individual to offer a retest.”