ECT Charity is on a mission to end loneliness and isolation.
We do this by enabling those who are unable to access mainstream transport to venture out of their homes: whether for a shopping trip or doctor’s appointment, or an excursion to the seaside.
There are lots of people who work hard to make these journeys possible. Our Journey Makers series shines a light on them – from our well-trained, caring drivers to the community members who organise transport for local groups.
ECT in Cheshire’s PlusBus driver Alan raised the alarm after one of his regular passengers didn’t appear for his usual shopping trip. As Alan’s story illustrates, PlusBus drivers don’t simply transport people from A to B, but they also play a key role in caring for our elderly and disabled passengers.
When regular Wednesday passenger Bert did not appear at the door for his usual shopping trip to Ellesmere Port, PlusBus driver Alan was puzzled. Bert was one of the passengers who would always let the ECT in Cheshire team know if he wasn’t going to be on the bus that day.
Feeling that something might not be quite right, Alan decided to go around to the back of Bert’s house to investigate. Through the kitchen window, he could see a shape on the floor.
Alan realised it was Bert, in obvious distress. He tried to open all of Bert’s doors and windows, but they were locked. He immediately rang the team at the office, who contacted the police and ambulance services. He also shouted through the door to Bert that help was on its way.
Alan’s manager soon arrived to oversee the situation so that Alan could continue on his route, as he still had a passenger on the bus and another to pick up.
A few hours later, Alan received a phone call explaining what had happened to Bert. He had fallen in the kitchen just before going to bed the night before and broken his hip. He had been unable to move for nearly 12 hours.
The paramedics said that without Alan’s instinct that something was wrong, and taking the initiative to check the back door, Bert could have been there a lot longer – with potentially dire consequences.
Alan’s colleagues have said that the way in which he dealt with this incident, is typical of the care and consideration he has always shown his passengers. Bert’s family got in touch to explain how thankful they were for his quick reactions and care shown in this difficult situation.