Bus driver's act of kindness goes viral as he helps young girl make it to school

Ken Waterson
Ken Waterson

A bus driver's act of kindness towards a South Tyneside schoolgirl has gone viral.

A story about a Go North East bus driver has been liked and shared on Facebook more than 14,000 times.

An 11-year-old South Tyneside schoolgirl, Abigail Lodge, was left distressed and unable to pay for her bus fare to and from school after losing her purse but compassionate bus driver Ken Waterson stepped-in to help.

Abigail’s mum, Jay Lodge, took to Go North East’s Facebook page to thank Ken and the post quickly went viral, he wrote: “My daughter has just started senior school at Jarrow and she’s just getting to grips with getting the bus to and from school.

“This morning after walking to the bus stop she had dropped her purse along the way, not realising she got on the bus only to see she didn't have her purse or any money.

“She was really upset and got back off the bus. Your bus driver told her to get on so she could get to school.

“As she was getting off the bus driver stopped her and said 'have you got any money?' To which she replied 'no.' The driver very kindly gave her the fare home, out of his own money.

“My daughter Abigail said she couldn't say thank you enough. What a lovely driver you have working for you, who showed my 11-year-old daughter some human kindness, which we are all very grateful. He has helped enormously in a difficult situation for her.

“Bless him, what a star.”

The post – liked over 14,000 times – has been shared over 1,000 times and has had over 600 people comment on it:

Sandra Lacey wrote: “What a wounderful human being. He deserves to be recognised for his humanity and kindness. Well done. In this world of disrespect and selfishness this story is so uplifting.”

Paul D Vickers added: “What a nice gesture. Well done Go North East for having such a caring driver on their books.”

Head of marketing and retail at Go North East, Stephen King, said: “We love to hear stories from customers like the one about Ken – we always pass on any praise to the drivers personally and thank them on behalf of the customer and the company.

“The sheer amount of stories like this we receive goes to show that we have lots of brilliant people working for us who have bags of the famous North East friendly charm and compassion.

“Quite often when a customer contacts us, they don’t know the name of the driver involved but we do our best to identify them and make sure they know that what they did was appreciated.”

The Facebook post about driver Ken Waterson can be viewed here.

Are you Abigail's parents? Call us on 0191 501 7435.

Going the extra mile

Driver Ken went above and beyond his duties but this is no rare thing amongst Go North East’s 700 bus drivers.

The company regularly receives heart-warming stories about selfless things its drivers have done for people. Here are just some of the recent customer praise their drivers have received. It’ll warm your cockles!

- Sincere thank you to your driver Chris Newton. My 91-year-old mother who has dementia somehow found herself on the no. 17 bus and had an episode of memory confusion and panic. Chris became aware that my mother had been on the bus for almost two hours and was not getting off. He very kindly understood her predicament and used identification from the notebook she carries to phone me. I jumped in the car and met the bus in Wallsend. This could have ended very differently if Chris had not acted so effectively and thoughtfully. My family is genuinely grateful. Thelma Blaylock.

- Please can you thank David Atchison. I had collapsed and fainted before getting on the bus which was parked at the stop and he made sure I was ok, held my hand and walked me in the direction of my house. He was so good in an awful situation. I can’t thank him enough! Jessica Sedgwick.

- Billy Turnbull is the best bus driver! I had a huge panic attack on the Q2 this morning. He pulled over and stayed with me to calm me down while he rang an ambulance. The panic attack lasted 40 minutes. He contacted school and work for people who were going to be late and was so patient with me. Thank you so much! Lauren Kennedy.

- Your driver Mariusz Szpir was absolutely lovely. I was unsure of the area and he made sure I got off at the right stop and wished me luck on my first day at work. And he was driving the bus again this morning and asked me how my first day went. Rachel.

- My wife and I witnessed driver Thomas Conroy seeing to an elderly male passenger on board the 97A who had obviously taken ill. We were impressed by his professionalism, calmness and care, not only to the man who had taken ill but also to his passengers on the bus. Gordon Shepherd.

- My fiancé and I were on the 21 from Durham at 11.12 last night. The driver Soloman Odusanya should have been relieved at Chester-le-Street but his replacement didn’t arrive. He kept passengers aware of the situation and why we were waiting. Despite his shift finishing, he took us onwards to Newcastle. He went above and beyond and saved me a few quid in a taxi! Thank you.

- I didn’t realise I’d left my phone on the bus. Your driver Andrew Willis took the time to charge my phone up and contact the number on it and drop it off at my house. I want to thank this lovely gentleman for such a thoughtful, considerate and kind gesture. Evelyn Mclaren.