Community Transport Driver Saves Woman's Life
WOMAN'S LIFE SAVED (excerpt from Fermanagh Herald, Wed 31 Dec 08)
BY AILEEN MURPHY
A Macken pensioner owes her life to a Rural Lift Community Transport driver.
Lizzie Farmer (81), who is just out of hospital, is in no doubt that without the kindness and dedication of driver, Gerald Calgie she would not be alive today to tell her heart-warming tale.
At 81 years of age, Mrs Farmer is a sprightly lady who looks forward to using the Rural Lift service twice a week. All the drivers know Mrs Farmer, and she is usually standing at the door waiting for the bus to arrive.
However, when Gerald Calgie arrived at her home on the Friday before Christmas to bring her into Enniskillen to do some shopping, there was no sign of Mrs Farmer. He immediately became concerned. Mr Calgie began to walk around the house, and then spotted Mrs Farmer lying helpless on her bed.
The caring driver reacted immediately and, forcing open a bedroom window he climbed in and went to the pensioner's aid. He stayed with her until the ambulance arrived, and Mrs Farmer is adamant his actions saved her life: "Another couple of minutes and I would have been gone. I was breathless and wasn't able to get up to phone anybody. If Gerald hadn't arrived, I wouldn't be here."
Obviously emotional about her traumatic experience, Mrs Farmer clutches the hand of the driver she so clearly regards as a friend as she paid her tribute to him.
When the ambulance arrived, Mrs Farmer was taken to hospital where she remained for one week. And, while she is still recovering from the experience, she is looking forward to getting back to normal.
Mrs Farmer has been using the Rural Lift bus service for seven years. It is quite clearly a social lifeline in this isolated community. Now, her story is evidence that it can also provide a physical life-line for those who use the service.
Mrs Farmer went on to praise the actions of another Rural Lift driver, Roly Livingstone, who was also able to come to her aid when she suffered a similar, but less severe attack, the previous week. "He saved my life too. He was able to get the doctor and get me to the health centre. So I've two good drivers looking after me."
However, Mr Calgie, who comes from Belleek, shrugs off the praise: "I knew there was something wrong when Lizzie wasn't waiting at the door. Then I saw her through the window. It wasn't nice to see her like that, but it was good that I was able to help her."
And, while it is all part of a day's work for a Rural Lift driver, Mr Calgie admitted: "Yes, we offer a professional service, but it is also personal. We get to know people like Lizzie who use the service all the time and we build up a relationship with them.
"I can honestly say this is the first job that I look forward to getting up and coming to do. I get to go to different places and see different people every day."
In fact, on the day Mr Calgie rescued Mrs Farmer, he was due to drive a different route when he changed with another driver at the last minute. A further twist of fate which both believe played a hand in helping Mr Calgie to be the one to find Mrs Farmer in her distressed state.
Just over a year ago, Mr Calgie was named both the Northern Ireland and All-Ireland MiDAS Community Driver of the year, two titles which Mrs Farmer has no doubt he truly deserves.
Many thanks to Gerald and all at Rural Lift who provide excellent Community Transport services and passenger care.