The shuttle bus company whose driver told a gay couple to sit in the back of the bus because they were holding hands has apologized to the couple.

Ron McCoy and Chris Bowers of Portland, Oregon were in New Mexico last month for a road trip through the Southwest. They were told to move to the back of the bus when they boarded an airport shuttle bus holding hands.

“I saw him look at us, look down at his hands and he looked so angry. He just blurted out at me, he goes, 'OK if you're going to do that, you're going to the back of the bus,'” McCoy told KRQE.

The couple complied with the order but approached the driver once the shuttle stopped.

“I said 'I think it was because you didn't like the fact that I was holding my partner's hand.' He goes, 'See, now you're telling on yourself.' My partner responds, 'Well that's discrimination.' And the driver responds, 'You're telling on yourself again,'” McCoy said.

Standard Parking, the private company contracted to operate the shuttles, this week issued an apology.

“We sincerely apologize to Mr. Bowers and Mr. McCoy for any disrespectful treatment they received in New Mexico,” the company said in a written statement. “Standard Parking respects the equal rights of all customers, and we do not condone or tolerate discrimination of any kind against any of our customers or employees, whether relating to sexual orientation, gender, age, race, nationality or religion.”

Commenting on the apology, McCoy told KATU: “In some ways it makes me feel like what they really regret is the attention they're getting.”