Teens covered with paint at prom


Several dozen Raleigh students from Cardinal Gibbons High School say their night got off to a bad start when they rented a bus to take them to and from their school prom.

"We were taking pictures and then a bus pulled up, kind of looked like a broken down school bus, and one of the guys said 'Wouldn't that be funny if that was your bus,'" Santino, a Cardinal Gibbons senior, recalled.

But it was no joke. The old school bus was their party bus.

"I got on the phone with the owner and said 'This is not the quality we had last year,'" said Santino "He said 'I'm sorry, but the bus you had last year is on order right now, someone else is using it. We apologize, but this is the bus you have.' So we made the most of it."

Some kids got on the bus, but soon realized they got more than they bargained for - black paint from the bus seats got all over their clothes and skin.

"We got to prom, and as soon as we walked in the door, everyone was like 'Why is there paint on you?" said Santino. "We tried to get past it, but girls were upset and crying. Their dresses were completely ruined."

The teens made the best of it, but right after prom, Ellery Swain's dress went to the dry cleaner.

"You can see some of the sheen has been taken off when they tried to clean it," she explained.

The more than $500 dress was ruined.

"I was upset, I never dreamed it would never come out," she said.

Her mom says she called the bus company, Couch Trip - The Party Bus, to discuss the damages, which totaled more than $1,800 between all the dresses and tuxes.

"He wanted to say he was not responsible for any damages," Jean Swain said.

The company did offer to reimburse the damages, but they still wanted the teens to pay the outstanding balance of $1,300 for the bus rental, which didn't go over well.

"It was a nightmare of an evening, so I would like all of the funds refunded fully," Jean Swain

Upset, the teens contacted ABC11 and I reached out to Couch Trip sales manager Sam Taylor.

He admitted that they had recently painted the seats and that obviously caused the problems. So he agreed to pay all $1,800 in damages, forget the $1,300 still owed for the bus, and offered them a free party bus for their next big event.

The rep for Couch Trip also said the ordeal was a mess and it took so long to work out because they were working with the paint company who sold them the defective paint.

Jean Swain told me she is very happy with the resolution and thanked ABC11 for getting involved.

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