Hundreds of thousands demand bus driver not be fired after slapping teen

An RATP public transport bus drives in Paris in this file photo.

(CNN)More than 290,000 people have signed a petition in support of a Paris bus driver facing disciplinary action after he was filmed slapping a teenager.

A video of the incident, which was shared widely on social media in France, showed the driver exiting his bus before slapping the teenage boy, who was standing on the side of the road.
The RATP Group, a state-owned public transport company, condemned its employee's actions in a Sunday post on Twitter, saying that it went against the company's "principles and values."
    "It will, of course, be taken into account that the employee regrets his action and says he reacted in the grip of emotion after he avoided hitting the young person, who crossed the street in a dangerous manner and insulted the driver," it added.
    The driver's RATP colleagues launched the petition calling for him not to be fired. They say the driver was forced to brake sharply after the teenager crossed the street, and called out to him afterward "as any parent would have done." In response, they say the teen insulted him.
    The driver is known for his "kindness, Olympic calm and patience," his colleagues say.