Bouquets : Cab firm goes extra mile for autistic boy

Cab firm goes extra mile for autistic boy

My seven-year-old son Jenson has autism and sensory issues, which cause him to constantly seek sensory input, such as touching a certain texture.

I noticed that Jenson would stare at a Comfort cab whenever he saw one, although I did not know why.

A few months ago, I met Mr Kho Joo Yong, who kindly allowed my son to play in his taxi. Jenson kept touching the cover of the headrest and refused to leave the taxi.

Mr Kho then decided to give the headrest cover to Jenson, and my son left the cab happy.

Jenson loved that piece of black cloth very much.

But as the months passed, it became worn out from multiple washings. I began to worry that Jenson would have a meltdown or be unable to sleep, with the cloth gone.

So, I began scrutinising Comfort cabs to see if I could find another headrest cover like that.

I also sought my neighbour Cecilia's help, as her father-in-law was a Comfort cab driver.

To our disappointment, we could not find another cover.

Knowing Jenson's condition, Cecilia wrote to ComfortDelGro for help. She was delighted when customer service officer Ivy Bai replied the next day, asking for my contact number.

Ms Bai called me and, before I could explain anything, immediately offered to mail me the headrest cover.

She warned me, however, that the old design was no longer being produced and that the new design was of a different material, though it was still black.

We received the new black cloth last week.

Even though it is different, Jenson accepted it. The smile on his face was priceless.

Words cannot express how touched I am by Mr Kho - who allowed Jenson to play in his cab and gave him the black cloth - and by Ms Bai - who believed our request was genuine and went the extra mile to send us the cloth.

Their kindness and compassion towards my son is such a great gift.

Tina Tan Bee Hoon

Great service before, after mum's death

I was one of those people who were ignorant of palliative services, until my own mother was stricken with advanced pancreatic cancer.

She spent less than a week at Dover Park Hospice before she died.

My family and I are deeply grateful to the doctors, nurses and volunteers for their exemplary service and meticulous care, which ensured that my mother had a fairly good quality of life during her last days.

My family and I are glad that she was able to spend her time with little suffering, despite her debilitating condition.

We are particularly appreciative of the fact that the hospice allowed us to have a single room, where family members could spend some private moments with her after she died.

In the ensuing emotional roller-coaster, the understanding, flexibility and empathy extended by the hospice provided us with much comfort and relief.

The importance of good palliative care cannot be overemphasised, and I am proud that Singapore has such an outstanding palliative care hospice as Dover Park Hospice.

Seah Yam Meng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 19, 2017, with the headline 'Bouquets'. Print Edition | Subscribe