Almost 60 staff from Govia Thameslink Railway won Lifesaver Awards from the Samaritans during January/February. Between them, they have potentially saved 300 lives.
One of the staff members who received an award, Kayode (‘Kay’) Awote, was honoured on ‘Brew Monday’ (18 January 2021). He was recognised for helping two vulnerable people to safety and assisting two young girls who had run away from home because their parents were arguing.
The young children were on their own and wearing rucksacks at a station when Kay noticed them. Thinking it was out of the ordinary, he spoke to the children and they told him that they had climbed out of a window to leave home because their mother and father were fighting. Kay took them to the station office and let them play music on his phone as he called the police for assistance, who arrived and took them home.
Kay has also held back a potentially suicidal young man from the edge of the platform. He was alerted when an audibly distressed pedestrian walked past the ticket office window on the platform. Kay said:
“I kept an eye on him with the station CCTV to see him safely on to the next train, but he didn’t get on. He seemed very upset and possibly a bit tipsy, so I decided to go and have a chat. Before I got very near he suddenly put himself in a very dangerous place. I caught his attention and managed to persuade him to stop and get him to tell me why he was so upset. I told him I would get help for him and called the police, who were able to calm him down some more and get him to move to safety.”
Kay has also had to pull back a crying woman who leapt towards the platform as soon as he turned his back.
GTR’s suicide prevention manager Laura Campbell said:
“Starting a conversation with someone who is trying to hurt themselves or feels they want to end their life isn’t easy. “That’s why it’s so important that we recognise those who go out of their way to help.”