You might know one, you might have heard of one, you might even be one. There are countless everyday heroes all across Transport who are out there living our values of integrity, solutions, customer focus, collaboration and safety in incredible ways. Transport Mode chatted to a handful of our people who do just that. Their secret? Passion, quick thinking, creativity and always going that extra mile to help.
Guardian of the night
State Transit Bus Driver, Sanjeev Bajaj, took customer care and compassion to the next level after he noticed something wasn’t quite right on his regular late-night Sydney route. After picking up a lone 13-year-old boy who was visibly upset in Kings Cross, Sanjeev knew he had to get the young boy back to his family.
“We got to the end of the run and he was still on the bus, looking sad and alone.
“I have a 12 year-old son — about the same age as this boy — and I couldn’t leave him alone in the dark of night like that,” says Sanjeev.
Sanjeev called the boy’s family and waited there with him until his family arrived to collect him. All of this was long after Sanjeev was meant to clock off.
Needless to say, the family were beyond grateful to have their son back to them safe and sound — all thanks to Sanjeev’s selfless actions.
“What an amazing man. I owe you more than a bus fare, State Transit. You have a wonderful employee and I owe you my son’s life,” wrote the boy’s mother in an especially touching customer compliment.
Customer service superstar goes viral
Known for her quirky train announcements as a Guard with Sydney Trains, Michelle de Mol draws her inspiration to brighten customers’ days from her passion for brilliant customer service.
Michelle has made a name for herself with customers and her peers as having a special knack for making our customers smile.
“I just want to be someone that brightens their day a little bit — I like to add fun to the journey,” says Michelle.
It’s this kind of devotion that earned her the Secretary’s Award for Excellence at the last Transport Awards — the most prestigious of accolades in the Transport cluster. Not to mention the hundreds of compliments she receives through the customer feedback line and social media — she’s a viral sensation!
“Hooray! My favourite guard Michelle is on my train,” tweeted one afternoon commuter. “Lots of smiles in the carriage because of her announcements,” said another.
Michelle is also passing on her passion for people to the next generation of Guards through a new mentoring program.
Saving lives against the current
When a mother and two children fell from their kayaks in Lake Illawarra, Jay Ruming, Roads and Maritime Boating Safety Officer quickly stepped in to save the day.
The family were without lifejackets and were caught up in a strong tidal current pushing them out of the lake entrance. Calling in assistance from a local boater, Jay was able to pull the family out of the water and bring them back to shore safely.
As a keen boater himself, Jay hopes that the situation is a reminder for everyone to wear a lifejacket.
“There’s nothing better than seeing a family on the water enjoying our local waterways safely,” he said.
Without life jackets, this type of incident can be fatal, so it was lucky Jay was around to rush to the rescue.
A touching gesture
Faced with a special teddy bear lost somewhere on our bus network, State Transit Depot Manager Brendan Rabbit went above and beyond to return it to its family.
You see, it wasn’t just any ordinary teddy. The family confided in Brendan that it held deep sentimental value to the family as a loving memory of their stillborn child. The teddy ventures out with them just once a year for a family photo.
Brendan trawled through hours of CCTV footage and spoke to countless staff across his depot to eventually track down the bear. He even personally drove to the family’s home late at night to hand deliver the teddy.
Brendan’s manager, Mark Peters, attributes Brendan’s heartfelt effort to an unwavering dedication to his job and our customers.
“It was an outstanding example of how one person can make such a difference to our customers’ lives,” he said.
Crafting one-of-a-kind solutions
How would you break down language barriers to help international customers stay safely behind the yellow line on train platforms? NSW TrainLink Duty Manager David Zvicer showed us that a little creative thinking can go a long way.
During his time at Morisset Station on the Central Coast, David noticed that many tourists — who flock to the town to catch a glimpse of its local kangaroos couldn’t understand the safety announcements being played on platforms.
David was concerned for their safety, so he put his thinking cap on and got to work. His simple solution? To play Google Translations over the station PA from his mobile app, allowing announcements to be played in over 100 different languages.
“I see them listening and moving back. It’s amazing how something so simple can make such a big difference in communication — and more importantly, safety,” says David.