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Edinburgh Live
Edinburgh Live
Kris Gourlay

Hero East Lothian bus driver stops traffic and helps blind man across busy road

A blind East Lothian man has hailed the kind heartedness of a bus driver who assisted him crossing a busy road in the dark.

Ken Reid, who has lived in North Berwick for 30 years, said he was walking along Dirleton Avenue around 8pm on Tuesday night, August 30, when he stopped with his white cane to listen to the traffic before crossing.

Familiar with his surroundings, Ken knew the bus stop was a little further along the road from where he was standing, but his senses told him the big East Coast double decker was approaching and eventually stopped. Not knowing what was going on, Ken waited for the bus to keep moving past him, assuming that it had stopped for another reason.

READ MORE: Devastated West Lothian daughter left 'grieving twice' by mum's Alzheimer's

Little did he know the kind driver had stopped the bus, and oncoming traffic, to get out and make sure Ken could cross the road safely. After being blown away by the sheer whole-heartedness of the gesture, Ken decided to post it in a local North Berwick Facebook group, where it gathered almost 1,000 likes.

Speaking about the simple gesture that restored his faith in humanity and made a change from all the doom and gloom in the world, Ken told Edinburgh Live : "Dirleton Avenue is one of the main roads into North Berwick from Edinburgh. I was looking to cross it on Tuesday evening around 8pm and stood at the side of the road. I'm blind so I use my cane. I was listening out for a clear point in the traffic and heard a bus coming so just decided to wait until after that.

"It then stopped on my right, but I know the bus stop is on my left, so I thought it was a little strange it was stopping there. I heard it stop and I thought I'd have to wait until it had passed by to cross the road. So I was just waiting and then the driver got out the bus and came over and said if I wanted to cross, it's same to do so now.

"I said 'oh, okay' and realised that what he had done was stop the bus to hold up the traffic coming behind him and out of North Berwick and I don't know whether he signalled to traffic coming the other way or positioned the bus so they also couldn't get past, but he said it was okay to cross and I went on my way.

"That's all it was. It was a two second gesture but it was a nice thing to have happened to me, as most of our time is spent dealing with stuff that is horrible. I was with some friends later and I told them, that's when they told me to put it on Facebook as it made them smile, so it would cheer others up too. I think it received over 900 likes, so that's 900 people smiling as far as I'm concerned."

Ken added that is can be particularly difficult at times to cross the road and navigate his way around, saying that certain sounds allow him to evaluate if it is safe to cross. For example, he said that the 20 miles per hour speed limits within the town help a lot, as do pot holes, ironically, as they allow him to hear more clearly that a car has just gone through one and is close by.

After becoming registered blind at a young age, Ken said his partner is usually around to help him crossing and carrying out other tasks, so he was entirely grateful to the driver of the East Coast service 124 that stopped to help him on Tuesday night.

"It's nice to know there are decent folk out there," Ken added. A Spokesperson for East Coast buses said: “Our driving team continue to do an amazing job to keep people moving across East Lothian. We are delighted that our driver’s kindness and compassion resulted in a positive outcome for the gentleman on Tuesday."


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