The Straits Times Singaporean of the Year 2019

Chalmers Chin: Consultant used own car to stop out-of-control taxi

On his way to work, Chalmers Chin used his car to stop a taxi that was moving erratically on the PIE.
Education consultant Chalmers Chin said the safety of the people in the taxi - two women and two children, apart from the cabby - was his top priority, as he braced himself physically and mentally for the inevitable collision when he stopped the unco
Education consultant Chalmers Chin said the safety of the people in the taxi - two women and two children, apart from the cabby - was his top priority, as he braced himself physically and mentally for the inevitable collision when he stopped the unconscious cabby's vehicle with his own car.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

The Straits Times Singaporean of the Year seeks to honour Singaporeans whose extraordinary acts of goodwill have improved their community and the lives of others.

Mr Chalmers Chin said he is no hero, and was simply doing what was right.

But he is unquestionably one to a group of hapless taxi passengers whom he saved from a potentially serious accident on Oct 1 with his quick thinking and bravery.

As he was driving to work that morning on the Pan-Island Expressway amid heavy traffic, Mr Chin spotted a taxi ahead of him veering in and out of the lane.

The taxi's hazard lights were blinking and as he passed it on the right, he could see the front-seat passenger trying to steer the vehicle, and another in the back waving for help through a partially open rear door.

Realising that something was wrong, Mr Chin, 31, an education consultant, decided to act to stop the taxi immediately.

As the taxi veered into the lane behind him, he jammed on his brakes, causing it to strike the rear of his Volkswagen Golf GTI.

The front-seat passenger then managed to guide the taxi to the road shoulder as it came to a halt.

Mr Chin ran to the taxi and found four passengers - two women and two children - inside.

The driver was unconscious at the wheel, most likely having suffered a heart attack.

Mr Chin told The Straits Times: "I thought to myself, 'Hey, they are in trouble.' It probably had been a very traumatic experience for them.

"What if my family was in that situation? I hope someone else would come in and do the same thing for me.

"What was going through my mind was how to stop the vehicle in the safest possible way."

The safety of those in the taxi was his top priority as he braced himself physically and mentally for the inevitable collision.

Many netizens applauded Mr Chin for putting the safety of others before his own, after the incident was reported in The Straits Times.

 
 
 

"I don't really think I or whatever (I did) was that heroic," said Mr Chin, asserting that it was a tragic incident as the 60-year-old cabby later died in hospital.

"I just wanted to do the right thing and to help them... I didn't expect to be rewarded in any way."

Helping others, whether friends or strangers, was a trait instilled in him from a young age, and he hopes his five-month-old son will grow up to be kind.

He is married to a 27-year-old accountant.

"When I was a kid, there were a couple of grannies who lived in our area. If I saw them carrying heavy bags, I would help carry the bags up the flight of stairs," said Mr Chin.

A few years ago, he gave an elderly woman a piggyback to her car when she slipped and fell in a carpark.

"I don't expect the favour to be returned," said Mr Chin.

"To me, it is that I have done something good, I feel good about it and I can sleep at night."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2019, with the headline 'Consultant used own car to stop out-of-control taxi'. Print Edition | Subscribe