Here’s an inspirational story coming out of the UK which proves that it’s never too late to make a big change for the better.
A man who struggled with homelessness and drug addiction has since turned his life around, and has now been voted the ‘happiest bus driver’ in all of London.
Patrick Lawson, pictured above, spent 20 years sleeping rough on the streets of London. Now, after receiving 45 commendations from passengers, he’s won the Hello London Award for outstanding customer service at Transport for London’s annual London Bus Awards.
Patrick comes from an area of London called Hackney, and had a difficult start to life. As a teenager he spent various stints in prison which led to him sleeping rough around London – which carried on until about 4 years ago.
He said in an interview with the Evening Standard: “I got into trouble as a teenager and went down the wrong path – I got involved in crime. When I came out of prison I got involved in drugs and things progressively got worse.”
Thankfully, after all those years of struggle, Patrick is finally on the ‘straight and narrow’, with a roof over his head and a rewarding job to go to.
So, how did he do it? Well, after ending up in hospital due to illness, Patrick was referred the Islington-based Single Homeless Project. This led him to another employment programme, which helped him train as a bus driver.
“I never believed charities would work but now I’m an advocate for their services. I want other ex-cons and homeless people to know that if they apply themselves and they have a plan, even a small one, they can achieve it,” he added.
A truly inspirational message, I’m sure we can all agree.
Now that he is in a better place, Patrick also makes a point of giving every single passenger a friendly and pleasant greeting.
He said: “My favorite part [of being a bus driver] is going out there and just meeting passengers. I want to greet every single person when they come on the bus and when they leave, and I have done that from day one with a big smile. Some passengers look at me in shock when I do it.”
I can imagine – Londoners aren’t exactly famous for being friendly and chatty! I’m sure they love Patrick’ friendliness though, even if some might be a little taken aback by it.
After all, 45 of his regular passengers recommended Patrick for the award, so they obviously love his appraoch. And why wouldn’t they!
Patrick is very grateful the HCT Group have put him forward for the award, and commended him for his hard work. He told London Live: “I’m happy for getting it, but it’s just me and that’s what I’m meant to do as a bus driver.”
Here’s to you Patrick. Keep smiling, it’s contagious!