Virgin Trains has faced a backlash online after blaming a cancellation on drivers who refused to volunteer to work on their days off.
The rail firm's Twitter team sparked an uproar after a delayed passenger called Nicole complained on Twitter about a driver 'going AWOL'.
She was trying to travel from London Euston station to Manchester but was forced to switch to a different train because the original service wasn't fully staffed.
Virgin Trains' response soon went viral as other Twitter users defended the drivers and chastised the company for "relying" on staff to voluntarily work on their days off and "struggling" to operate on time when they don't.
Nicole, who bought a ticket for the 13.40 service on Saturday, was stuck on a train that was going nowhere when she wrote: "LMAO @VirginTrains how TF can your driver go AWOL?! #euston #getmetomanchester".
She added: "I have boarded my train and there is no driver! I now have to get a different train and lose my reserved seat".
One of Virgin Trains' customer service representatives responded: "Due to a sudden shortage of drivers volunteering to work rest days, we have had to reduce the number of services today."
Nicole then tried to find out when her train would arrive in Manchester with additional stops, but the firm didn't have an answer for her.
Other users called on the company to refund her ticket.
A user called Jim wrote: "Yeah hey Virgin. You could refund her ticket, you know as an apology for expecting staff to work days off and struggling when they don't.
"None of that 'claim through the relevant channels' nonsense. Just give her her money back plus an extra fiver to say sorry."
Actor Sean Biggerstaff, who portrayed Gryffindor pupil Oliver Wood in the Harry Potter films, wrote to the staff member whose initials are PA: "Surely, PA, you must see how this makes @ VirginTrains completely unfit for purpose?"
Another user added: "What a despicable company, blaming drivers for not working rest days."
A user called Chris wrote: "Have you considered hiring enough drivers they don't have to work rest days? I like the idea my drivers are properly rested."
User James wrote: "a business model reliant on drivers volunteering when they aren't contractually obliged your model is exploitative and deserves to fail.
Bertha added: "Why not employ the correct number of staff rather than relying on people working on their days off, eh?"
Mirror Online has contacted Virgin Trains for comment.