Two deaf children were amazed when they asked one of our drivers, Craig Colgate what his favourite bus colour is. Craig answered using sign language, a skill he had learned to help a regular customer who was hard of hearing.
The twins’ mum was so impressed she couldn't wait to let us know. As a result of this amazing act, Craig was recently crowned as our hero of the year at our really good service awards 2018.
The mum said Craig made the day for her 10-year-old twins. She wrote to us explaining: “We were in Heanor Market Place when they talked to Craig, who was on his lunch break.
“When I asked Craig why he knows sign language, I was even more amazed when he told me that he taught himself basic sign language a few years back to help communicate with a customer who was hard of hearing.”
Craig, who drives the 21 between Heanor, Ilkeston and Nottingham, said: “I picked up a passenger at the QMC but we couldn’t communicate with each other, so I decided I would learn the basics of sign language.”
The judges said: “Craig made a lasting impression with the mum and her twins. He has gone above and beyond to make sure he can provide a really good service to all of his customers.”
At our really good service awards night, mainline driver James Kearney was named driver of the year. James was chosen as the best of the best – beating all the other winners of of our 2017 driver of the month competitions.
The judges said James is “as good as it gets – and then some. He is a driver who makes you feel like you've been his best friend for ages”.
James said: “It feels amazing to win this. Thank you very much everyone. I love working with the public. “When people get on board my bus who are maybe feeling a bit gloomy I say it’s ok, let’s smile, even just for a moment, and they then go to work thinking they are going to have a happy day.”
A special recognition award was presented to Dave Lee, a traffic officer based at Derby Bus Station whose first aid skills have been vital in many situations over the years.
director of service delivery Tom Morgan said: “Dave is calm, confident and with a professional approach that puts his team members at ease, particularly when stressful situations arise. He has been a genuine lifesaver.”
Dave added: “When I was listening to Tom describe the winner I suddenly realised that he was talking about me. I wasn’t expecting such a lovely surprise.”
Our customers voted for the customer choice award to go to the swift driver Chris Gulliver. Chris received sacks of nominations from customers who told us what a local legend their ‘rock star’ driver is. The judges said what impressed them the most is that Chris has fans young and old. Chris said: “Winning this is epic – amazing, a dream come true. That it’s the customers voting for the award makes it even more special.”
managing director Jeff Counsell said: “It is fantastic to celebrate all the good work our colleagues do, day in and day out, to make us what we are – the really good bus company with the highest scoring drivers in the country.”