Sunday, January 21, 2007

BUS STORY # 18 (ABQ RIDE Bus Drivers Help Senior Citizen)


Each bus story I write is previewed by my family and friends before being posted on this blog. Of all the bus stories I’ve written, the story that has occasioned the greatest number of unsolicited responses is the story about the bus driver who helped get a woman out of what looked like a bad situation by getting her on board his bus. Virtually all the reactions were along the lines of how reassuring it was to know there were still Good Samaritans out on our city streets. This week’s story is along those same lines. From a January 11, 2007, ABQ RIDE press release:

ALBUQUERQUE – ABQ RIDE Director Greg Payne recognized Road Supervisor Leroy Ortega and Motorcoach Operator Dan North today for going the extra mile and assisting a disoriented senior citizen find his way home safely last month.

On the night of Saturday, December 2, the elderly man left his assisted living facility when a gate was left unlatched. The gentleman, who suffers from advanced dementia, walked to a bus stop and boarded a Rapid Ride bus. He was confused and could not tell the bus driver much information.

ABQ RIDE Motorcoach Operator Dan North noticed he was disoriented and needed some assistance. North contacted ABQ RIDE Road Supervisor Leroy Ortega to assist. The man was able to provide a phone number for his family, so Ortega called and left two messages that night. The first message asked where he lived, so he could be taken home. The second message said he had found the man’s address on an ID bracelet, and he called the assisted living facility and took him back there.

“I want to thank Mr. Ortega, and everyone else, who recognized a confused man and helped him,” said the man’s daughter Cathy Dunbar. “Being alone on a dark, cold night is a frightening thing, and certainly to someone in Dad’s condition, is life threatening. I want to sincerely thank the kind and caring people, especially Leroy Ortega, who saved my father’s life.”

“We have so many great people at ABQ RIDE who deeply care about the people in the community we serve,” said ABQ RIDE Director Greg Payne. “Leroy Ortega and Dan North went beyond their normal job duties because they could see this man was confused and needed help. Because of their caring and compassion, this gentleman was returned safely and was able to experience the holiday season with his family.”

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