A Former Homeless Person has gone from the Street to a Seat and been crowned London’s Top Bus Driver, after spending only 16 Months on the Job. His Reputation climbed to the Top because he Never Stops Smiling, despite battling traffic gridlock every day.
Patrick Lawson is over the moon about his new title. The 50-year-old said after falling into the “wrong crowd” as a teenager and a spell in prison, he was dragged into the “dark and vicious cycle” of homelessness, crime and drugs. When he finally managed to land on his feet, his cheerful disposition was reborn.
“My mum gave me advice and I didn’t take it,” said Patrick. “I was hot-headed in school and got expelled. I went to prison for stealing cars and met hardened criminals, ended up there again and started a dark and vicious cycle.”
From selling the Big Issue and Searching London’s Streets for Somewhere to Sleep, optimistic Patrick can now be find Cheerily Greeting Passengers on the 26 Bus from Hackney Wick to Waterloo.
The Cycle escalated until the Father-of-Three met a Defining Moment 16 years ago when an Unprovoked Attack left him in the Hospital Fighting for his Life and Questioning his Bad Choices.
“I thought I was going to die and I started thinking of my children. I knew it was life or death. I kept thinking, how did I end up in this situation?” said Patrick. “And that’s when I said, I need help. I wanted to climb out of the gutter.”
Patrick has now been crowned Transport for London’s Top Bus Driver, despite being on the Job just 16 Months.
Patrick, originally from Hackney, was given a Chance to turn his Life around when he crossed Paths with Volunteers at Single Homeless Project (SHP).
The Charity’s Islington Aftercare Service retrained Patrick as a Bus Driver and with the help of the HCT Group’s Learning Centre, he Fell in Love with the Job.
He added: “I sold the Big Issue in Russell Square and Mayfair and even then I was always enthusiastic so I brought that to the bus industry.”
“I’ll say good morning to every single passenger and give them a big smile. I was told it wouldn’t last long but passengers told me to keep on going.”
Since starting the Job in March 2017, he has won 2 Awards and received more than 100 Recommendations from Members of the Public.
In July 2018, he won Transport for London (TfL’s) Hello London Award for Outstanding Customer Service after receiving 45 commendations from members of the public. Then, in October 2018, he scooped up the Top London Bus Driver Prize at the UK Bus Awards with 66 public reviews.
Patrick added: “The key is having the determination to change.”
“I have been at rock bottom but it was the support from the charities and HCT’s social enterprise that has really helped me.”
Patrick’s Extraordinary Journey does not stop there, either he is already planning to Write a Book about his Turbulent Experiences as a Means of Helping Others who may be trapped in a “dark hole”.
Lawrence Wilson, Director of London at HCT Group said “We are genuinely proud of what Patrick has achieved.”
“He has come through a difficult time and, with the help of organisations like the SHP and our own Learning Centre, he has really turned his life around.”
“What happened next, though, has been down to him.”
“His warmth towards passengers and his customer service are both outstanding – he truly deserves the bus driving accolades and awards he has received.”
(Photos by The London Economic and Good News Network.)
(Source from The London Economic on 9 January 2019 and Good News Network on 13 January 2019.)