Commuter who helped a woman after she fell in the train given first Caring Commuter award

(From left) Patsy Pan, 38, Lester Wong, 25, and Jessie Lee, 61, at the Capitol Theatre, on Oct 23, 2019.
(From left) Patsy Pan, 38, Lester Wong, 25, and Jessie Lee, 61, at the Capitol Theatre, on Oct 23, 2019.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - Ms Jessie Lee, 62, was in a crowded MRT train at 7pm on July 10 when the train jerked and she fell to the ground.

Her shopping cart filled with groceries toppled, leaving her feeling helpless.

"I live alone and have a heart condition. My heart was beating really fast and I could not stand up so I started crying," Ms Lee told The Straits Times on Tuesday (Oct 22).

In her moment of need, 25-year-old Lester Wong and several other commuters responded. They helped Ms Lee to a reserved seat, and comforted her.

Mr Wong then alighted with Ms Lee at Buangkok station, before paying for a 10-minute Grab ride to her flat, where he stayed with her until 11pm.

The Singapore Management University business student later booked a ride to the Singapore General Hospital after she complained she was still not feeling well.

He stayed with her till midnight, while she was warded for the night.

"I had ended my internship early that day so it was quite a rare occasion for me. I was going to have a relaxing evening but when I saw Ms Lee, I could not help but think of my grandmother and knew the right thing to do was to help," he said.

On Wednesday, Mr Wong was one of five commuters awarded the inaugural Caring Commuter award at the 20th National Kindness Award - Transport Gold ceremony.

The event, held at the Capitol Theatre, recognised 471 commuters and transport workers for their gracious acts on Singapore's public transport, highlighting stories of extraordinary kindness that could have gone unnoticed in the hubbub of Singapore's rapid pace of life.

The Caring Commuter award arose from commuters' suggestions during the Public Transport Council's engagement sessions held between 2017 and 2019.

 
 
 
 

Guest of honour Lam Pin Min, the Senior Minister of State for Transport and Health, said in his speech at the event that the behaviour of commuters and transport workers both matter.

"The transport industry, be it bus, rail, or taxi, is at the heart of mobility in Singapore. These acts of kindness make a tremendous difference to both the giver and receiver. They make our journey so much more pleasant," he said.

Among the transport workers lauded was TransitLink customer service officer Azimah Edris, who won the Transport Gold award for the second year running.

In April, the 27-year-old forked out $26.10 of her own money to help a customer who had misplaced his wallet to not only buy a concession card for his son, but also for him to travel to his son's school to pass the card to the boy.

In her four years with TransitLink, Ms Azimah said she has paid for several primary school pupils when they needed to top-up their cards and had no cash on them to do so.

"I put myself in their shoes and don't really pay much attention to whether they will pay me back. Some do, while others have either forgotten or are too short of money to pay me back," said Ms Azimah.

In his speech at the event, Dr William Wan, the general secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement, said kind acts inspire the best in all who witness or benefit from the action.

“Through our daily acts, we can inspire fellow Singaporeans to reciprocate and bring out the best in all of us,” he said. “We have the potential to be greater versions of ourselves.”