Making a difference: Bus captain stops to help elderly woman

We profile six everyday heroes who have made a difference in the lives of strangers. Their heartwarming deeds are celebrated in the ongoing Good Man Good Deeds Good Rice campaign, a collaboration between Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao and Tong Seng Produce, which will donate 500kg of its SongHe rice and 60 litres of canola oil each to charities of their choice.

Senior bus captain Hooi Chee Keong, 46, was going along his usual route on bus 196 one afternoon in May when he came across an elderly woman who had collapsed on the road.

The woman was midway through a zebra crossing when her legs gave way and she slumped to the ground.

Mr Hooi had just turned into Cantonment Road when he witnessed the scene.

The crossing was empty except for the old woman, who struggled to get up to no avail.

Mr Hooi immediately stopped and parked at the side of the road before alighting to help her up.

He said: "I saw her fall while crossing the road and there was no one around to help her up. It was so dangerous. My first thought was to get down to help her."

He added: "She was pushing a trolley of groceries. I believe she was returning from the market.

"She fell in the middle of the road, so big vehicles might not be able to see her."

Mr Hooi said he was worried about making passengers on the bus wait, so he rushed back after helping the woman. The whole encounter took a few minutes.

He said: "The elderly women thanked me in Hokkien. That already made me very happy. I didn't think a passenger would write in to the company to compliment me."

That passenger was finance manager Tham Chee Hao, 32.

Mr Tham said: "Honestly, I was annoyed at first.

"I had gone to the gym and just wanted to get home fast but the bus wasn't moving. Then I saw the bus captain had stopped to help an old woman and get her to safety. My annoyance was gone instantly. I was really touched."

He noted the bus' licence plate number and immediately wrote an e-mail to SBS Transit, praising Mr Hooi's actions.

Mr Hooi said that this is the first time he has been recognised for a good deed in his 11 years as a bus captain.

He said: "I don't ask for people's gratitude or repayment because I believe that if I help someone's mother today, when my mother needs help, others will do the same for her."

Mr Hooi and Mr Tham's charity is Willing Hearts.