He took care of passenger who fell in crowded train

Mr Lester Wong stayed with 62-year-old Jessie Lee after she fell in an MRT train on July 10. He comforted her on the train, accompanied her home and even took her to the hospital.
Mr Lester Wong stayed with 62-year-old Jessie Lee after she fell in an MRT train on July 10. He comforted her on the train, accompanied her home and even took her to the hospital.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

For that, SMU student is among five people recognised with Caring Commuter award

Retiree Jessie Lee, 62, was in a crowded MRT train at 7pm on July 10 when the train jerked at Serangoon station and she fell.

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 yesterday.

In her moment of need, 25-year-old Lester Wong and several other commuters stepped forward, helping Ms Lee to a reserved seat and comforting her.

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

The final-year Singapore Management University business student later booked a ride to the Singapore General Hospital, staying with Ms Lee at the hospital till after midnight while she was warded for the night.

Mr Wong said: "I had ended my internship early that day and 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 was one of five commuters receiving the inaugural Caring Commuter award yesterday 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.

 
 

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

Senior Minister of State for Transport and Health Lam Pin Min, who was the event's guest of honour, said in his speech that the behaviour of both commuters and transport workers matters.

"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," he said.

Among the transport workers lauded was TransitLink customer service officer Azimah Edris, who won the Transport Gold Outstanding 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.

TransitLink customer service officer Hafifah AB Aziz was also a winner of the Outstanding award. The 59-year-old said she will display the award prominently in her home.

 
 

Last October, she found a wallet at Woodlands MRT station containing €500 (S$760). It belonged to a foreigner working in Singapore.

Ms Hafifah then took the initiative to contact the woman's workplace, later even messaging her on Instagram.

The two women have since become Instagram friends.

In a speech at the event, Dr William Wan, general secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement, said: "Through our daily acts, we can inspire fellow Singaporeans to reciprocate and bring out the best in all of us. We have the potential to be greater versions of ourselves."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2019, with the headline 'He took care of passenger who fell in crowded train'. Print Edition | Subscribe