SINGAPORE - Taxi driver Henry Koh, 44, was returning to his vehicle after getting coffee in West Coast last June when he was approached by a migrant worker who was clearly agitated.
The worker said his friend was extremely unwell, pointing to another migrant worker on the other side of the carpark who was barely on his feet.
The ComfortDelGro cabby soon learnt that the man was suffering from an acute asthma attack. Without hesitation, Mr Koh immediately helped the sick man into his taxi and sped off to the National University Hospital.
"I was a bit worried at first because then there was the Covid-19 outbreak in dormitories," the cabby told The Straits Times. "But I quickly put that out of my mind and did the right thing."
Mr Koh did not charge for the ride, and made sure the sick man was being treated before leaving the hospital.
The cabby was among a record 530 transport service staff who had their kind acts in the past year recognised during the 21st National Kindness Award Transport Gold ceremony at the Land Transport Authority auditorium in Hampshire Road on Wednesday (Jan 27).
The award is given to those in the sector who were commended by members of the public for their kind acts.
Eight commuters were also recognised on Wednesday, including the two men who had intervened when an SBS Transit bus driver was assaulted last September.
Lives were saved in the case of some award recipients, such as that of Mr Koh and SMRT assistant station manager Suhaila Ismail.
Madam Suhaila, 42, was manning her station at Bugis when a pregnant woman suffered acute cramps on the platform. Unable to contact her husband at the time, the woman was at a loss.
Madam Suhaila accompanied her to KK Women's and Children's Hospital, and two weeks ago, received word that the commuter's seven-month-old baby boy was healthy and well.
"She came back to the station and said I had probably saved her and her baby's life," said Madam Suhaila.
Another award recipient, Mr Azhiem Syed Ismail, who has worked for SBS Transit for about 2½ years, was on duty at Boon Keng MRT station in Oct 2019 - not his usual post at Chinatown - when an elderly man in his 70s fell down and injured himself on the escalator.
A commuter had pushed the emergency button to stop the escalator and reported the incident to him, which led him to track down the man who was limping outside the station. He had refused to wait for help, walking home with bags of groceries about 100m away from the station.
Armed with the station's first aid kit, the 32-year-old bandaged the elderly man's elbow and shin.
In a separate incident, TransitLink employee Zubaidah Ebrahim, 55, went to Jurong West after her shift to return a lost wallet.
"I've been working at the ticket office for almost 23 years and then got the award. My daughter is very proud of me," Madam Zubaidah said.
Minister for Transport Ong Ye Kung, who was guest of honour at Wednesday's ceremony, spoke of the importance of such awards.
He said: "An abundance of good things often goes unnoticed, a small ounce of bad things is disproportionate in impact.
"Because kindness begets kindness, because bad news travel by itself, good deeds need to be broadcast as loudly as possible."
Mr Ong added: "My hope is that in time to come, we will not need to celebrate acts of kindness. Kindness should live in each and all of us, and every kind act will not go unnoticed, and will be appreciated."