An Indian bus driver in Singapore having won accolades for his helping nature has been rewarded with trip to United Kingdom. He treats all his commuters as his family members and there are numerous tales about his benevolent nature.
He has been a familiar face on bus service 106 — which moves from Bukit Batok to the heart of the Central Business District — so much so that bus driver Vijaya Kumaran has seen his young passengers become adults.
Once, a commuter boarded his bus near Dhoby Ghaut MRT station and asked him: “Uncle, you don’t know me? You drove an SMRT bus (before) … when I was small, and now I’ve grown up.” That started a warm conversation as both tried to catch up on each other’s lives.
About 60 commuters have written in praise about the driver. When several city roads were closed to traffic in September for the Formula One night race, the bus driver recognised a regular commuter, told him about the road diversion, and ensured that he alighted at a stop closest to his Shenton Way office.
The commuter wrote an appreciation letter- “It feels great to know that he recognised me and my regular destination.”
Through the years, Kumaran has also built unspoken bonds with commuters, including a woman in her 50s who boards from the bus stop at Yusof Ishak Secondary School. A year or two ago, she became wheelchair-bound because of illness. “My heart broke … to see her like that,” he said.
On December 10, at the bus company Tower Transit’s inaugural awards night, Kumaran — who joined the UK-based operator in May after 16 years with SMRT — received his biggest prize for excellent service: A pair of return tickets to London and five nights’ accommodation worth S$4,500.