A man who talked down a potential suicide wins this year’s Station Staff of the Year Award.
Daniel Byrne works at Hoylake station on Merseyrail. It’s a busy station with trains every 15 minutes. Even so, Daniel Byrne spotted a distressed lady on the footbridge and sensed something was wrong.
Says Sally Ralston, corporate social responsibility manager at Merseyrail, ‘In May 2015 at the station at approximately 15.32 Daniel went to cross the footbridge to collect a printer cartridge off the 15.37 service and noticed a middle-aged woman sitting on the steps on the bridge, texting on her phone. He asked the lady if she was ok, and she replied in a nice manner that she was fine.
‘As the train was coming in, he quickly went and collected the cartridge. On the way back he asked the lady again if she was definitely ok. She replied that she was fine and was getting on the next train. The train was due in 1-2 minutes, so he thought, he would go and put the cartridge in the office and then see if she caught the train. The 15.39 pulled in and the lady didn’t move from the steps on the bridge.’
Daniel immediately went back out, his suspicions thoroughly aroused. Treading carefully when he approached the bridge, he saw the lady was in tears. Daniel again asked if she was ok, to which she replied, ‘No’. He then thought that he needed to try and calm her and get her off the bridge.
‘Daniel then asked if she would like to come off the bridge and talk to him about it at the bottom, she refused to move and replied.
‘I’ve had enough, I can’t carry on’. Daniel took this as a possible sign of suicide,’ says Sally. ‘He then called 170 for an isolation to prevent trains passing through the station and was advised to monitor the lady and close the footbridge. The lady started to pray. In the meantime, a member of the public entered the station who knew the lady.’
The man went up to the lady and eventually he and Daniel persuaded her to come down. When they moved into the car park, officers from British Transport Police and an ambulance crew had arrived. They then took her to a place of safety.
Sally Ralston adds, ‘Daniel’s actions that day were taken swiftly, professionally and calmly.’
A popular member of the team, colleague Bill Cook said, ‘I have worked with Daniel for three years and in that time he has been a perfect addition
to our station team. He is always available for help and advice and couldn’t be more helpful either to the station team or the customers. His manner is brilliant, he’s totally reliable and most of all, he cares about what is happening around him.’
Daniel Byrne,’I’d like to thank everyone I work with. We’re like a family and everyone looks out for each other.’
‘It’s crucial that these awards take place to acknowledge the work people like Daniel Byrne do on a day-to-day basis,’ said John Sheehy, general manager of the Transport Benevolent Fund (TBF), which sponsored the award. John, himself a former train driver, accompanied Daniel back stage and congratulated him on his award.
TBF is a registered charity and offers a wide range of benefits including health, legal advice, convalescence and cash help to its members and their dependants. TBF supports those who work in the public transport industry when they are in need, hardship or distress.>
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