In this magical season, a woman received a miracle from a kind bus driver which has filled her with hope for the future.
Jacqueline Mason was on her way to visit her 79-year-old mom, Eileen McGrugan, who is in an assisted care facility. She had to be careful to adhere to the limited visit time of 30 mins due to COVID-19 protocols.
Mason got onto the wrong bus in the hurry and realized that her 30-minute window was fast closing, she tearfully decided to tell the bus driver 57-year-old Alex “Alec” Bailey what had happened. “I started crying, and I said, ‘I’m not too sure if I’m on the right bus,’” she said.
Bailey decided to help her out instead of just telling her to take another bus or continue with his route. “When the woman said to me she hadn’t seen her mum in a long time, it just hit my heart,” Bailey said.
“A lot of people have suffered this year and you’ve seen on the news, people not able to see their mother or their father in the homes and it just struck a chord with me… I just said to myself, I have to get this woman as close as I can to that home.” With other passengers approval, Bailey detoured the bus and drove Mason to her destination, dropped her off there, and continued on his regular route.
Mason had an opportunity to highlight the miracle that she had just experienced when she met a news crew from Sky Ireland at the Bradley Manor Nursing home. The crew was covering the rollout of coronavirus vaccinations for staff and residents there, she described what the kind bus driver had done for her on Route 11B Translink Metro.
As for Bailey, he was still wondering if Mason got to the nursing home on time but soon learned he needn’t have worried, as his act of kindness had been featured in the evening news and was trending on social media.
When Bailey’s daughter saw the story, she knew exactly who that bus driver was, and after she confirmed it from Bailey who wanted to know how she’d found out, but by then, he was already “internet famous.”
Bailey received accolades from Translink CEO Chris Conway and Stormont Transport Minister Nichola Mallon for “going above and beyond the call of duty” and also was called a “superhero” by his co-workers, he was just happy to have helped out. “The smile and the joy on her face just said it all and I was just so pleased,” he said. “It was just a nice, magical moment. It was just the right thing to do.”