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‘It just hit my heart’


Have you ever had a nightmare where you are rushing to a place of vital importance only to find that you are on a bus or train heading in the wrong direction and will never arrive on time? This scenario unfolded for a Belfast woman last week, she just wasn’t dreaming.

Jacqueline Mason was on her way to see her 79-year-old mother, Eileen McGrugan, who lives in an assisted-care facility. Due to COVID-19 protocols, visits are limited to pre-scheduled half-hour slots.

When Mason discovered that she had mistakenly got on the wrong bus and her 30-minute window was closing fast, she was understandably distraught. Mason tearfully explained to bus driver Alex “Alec” Bailey, 57, what had happened.

“I started crying and said, ‘I’m not really sure if I’m on the right bus,'” she said. Sky News.

Rather than offer routine commiseration and stick to her schedule, Bailey decided to act.

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“When the woman told me she hadn’t seen her mother in a long time, it hit my heart,” Bailey said. told the BBC. “A lot of people have suffered this year and you have seen people on the news who cannot see their mother or father at home and it just struck a chord with me … I said to myself, I have to get this woman. as close to that house as possible. “


With an approving nod from the other passengers, Bailey diverted the bus and drove Mason to his destination, dropped her off, and then calmly returned to his usual route as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.

By sheer coincidence, when Mason arrived at Bradley Manor nursing home, a Sky Ireland news team was on site covering the launch of the coronavirus vaccines for the staff and residents there. Although she did not know her last name, Mason told her story about the compassionate Route 11B Translink Metro bus driver who had made it his mission to ensure that she would see her mother to reporters.

Although Bailey spent the rest of the day wondering if her passenger had arrived on time or not, she soon realized that she didn’t have to worry. Although “the driver in question” had not yet been named, the story appeared on the evening news and then made its way onto social media.


With effusive thanks to the passengers and praise for the man he knew only as “Alec,” Mason recounted the events of the day. The news of the “hero” bus driver spread quickly.

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When Bailey’s daughter saw a snippet of the story, she had a suspicion that she knew who had been captaining that bus: her father.

After confirming that he had, in fact, briefly taken over the bus, Bailey asked her daughter how she found out. By then, it seems that Bailey was “famous on the Internet.”

While Bailey ended up with unexpected praise from Translink CEO Chris Conway and Stormont Transportation Minister Nichola Mallon for “going beyond the call of duty,” as well as receiving many good natured taunts for being a “superhero” from Your partner. -workers: at the end of the day, I was happy to have helped.

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“The smile and the joy on his face said it all and he was so happy,” he told the BBC. “It was a magical and pleasant moment. It was the right thing to do. “

(WATCH the BBC video of this uplifting story below).

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