A life-saving bus driver whose quick thinking rescued a toddler who had stopped breathing after an asthma attack has been haileda hero for his actions.
Steven Tomkins was driving his number 99 bus when a mother on board raised the alarm that her two-year-old daughter had stopped breathing.
Despite being a newly qualified driver, Steven sprang into action and assisted the frightened mother of the little girl.
The quick-thinking 55-year-old first gave the girl her inhaler and tried to resuscitate her. Steven also rang for an ambulance and helped direct them to his exact whereabouts.
Now he has been recognised for his endeavours by his employees Go North East after the girl’s mum wrote to company bosses to say that, without Steven’s help, the child might have died.
“I had just started with Go North East and had picked this young mother and her little girl up from Hylton Retail Park in Sunderland,” he said.
“I was driving through Castletown, when I heard her saying that her two-year-old had stopped breathing, so I pulled over to see what the problem was and realised she was suffering from an asthma attack.
“The mother was panicking, so I took over and got the girl’s inhaler.
“I gave her a couple of puffs on that and she started to breathe, but not very well.
“She was still going in and out of consciousness, so I phoned an ambulance and kept the line open with them so they could find where we were.
“Meanwhile, I checked her pulse, and tried to resuscitate her until the ambulance arrived.”
Mr Tomkins was in the pub trade for 20 years before taking on his role as a bus driver in October 2015.
It was just six months into his role, in March this year, that he performed his life-saving actions.
He added: “Acouple of days later the manager called me upstairs to show me the letter from the toddler’s mum which said without my actions and the actions of the ambulance service, the baby would have died.”
Since then dad and grandad-of-two Mr Tomkins, from Gaskell Avenue, South Shields, was presented with an award along with three other bus drivers from Go North East, who had gone ‘above and beyond’ to help members of the public.
He was one of several staff to be awarded a ‘Special Commendation’ accolade at Go North East’s recent employee awards ceremony.
Go North East finance director Colin McPherson said: “To hear these stories of how these brilliant people made such a difference is truly heart-warming and to say we are proud to have them working for us and representing our company is an understatement.”
Mr Tomkins added: “It is nice that the company appreciated what I did.”