William Harris, from Cork, was driving the 205 bus from CIT into Cork City centre on Wednesday when he stopped the bus to tie the shoe of an elderly woman.
The woman was in danger of tripping, having already stumbled while alighting from his bus, but due to arthritis she couldn’t bend down to tie her lace.
Bus passenger, Clara O’Brien, took a photo of the driver helping the woman and shared it on Bus Éireann’s Facebook page. It immediately started going viral, amassing tens of thousands of likes in a few hours.
Mr Harris’s wife, Freda, rang him to let him know his photo was all over the internet.
“My wife phoned me to tell me, and I thought they were messing. I didn’t believe it,” he told RedFM’s Colm Moore. He said it was a natural reaction to help the woman, and he thought no more of it until he received the phonecall from his wife.
Mr Harris says he was surprised by the response to what he believed was just a small act of kindness: “It’s only a small thing, I didn’t think it would be that important. We always tied my mother’s shoelaces, put on her socks for her. It’s just a normal thing.
“People have done a lot better things than I had done yesterday and they never get noticed. It’s just a small simple thing, it’s amazing how it caught on,” he said,
Mr Harris has been inundated with interview requests so his proud employers, Bus Éireann, who say he is a “committed and modest” employee, revealed they allowed him to skip his 11am shift yesterday to meet the demands.
“Many Bus Éireann drivers have a long service record with the company and know their customers personally.
We are proud of their commitment to both, and commend this driver and the many others who carry out similar actions on a regular basis,” the company said.