Jacqueline Mason was on her way to see her 79-year-old mom, Eileen McGrugan, who lives in an assisted care facility. Visits were limited to just 30 minutes as a result of COVID-19 protocols.
Once Mason discovered she was on the wrong bus, and her 30-minute window will soon be over, she felt very sad. In tears, she explained to bus driver Alex “Alec” Bailey, 57, what had happened.
Instead of offering routine commiseration and keep to his schedule, Bailey sprung into action. While speaking with BBC, Bailey said:
When the woman said to me she hadn’t seen her mum in a long time, it just hit my heart. A lot of people have suffered this year and you’ve seen on the news, people not able to see their mother or their father in the homes and it just struck a chord with me… I just said to myself, I have to get this woman as close as I can to that home.Bailey
With approval of other passengers on board, Bailey detoured the bus took Jacqueline Mason to her destination, dropped her then continued with regular route as if nothing had happened.
By pure coincidence, as Mason was arriving at the Bradley Manor nursing home, a news crew from Sky Ireland was onsite covering the rollout of coronavirus vaccinations for staff and residents there. Though she didn’t know his last name, Mason relayed her tale of the compassionate Route 11B Translink Metro bus driver who’d made it his mission to ensure she’d see her mom to reporters.
Even though Bailey spent the rest of the day wondering whether or not his passenger had gotten there in time, soon enough, he learned he needn’t have worried. Though “the driver in question” had yet to be named, the story made the evening news—and then it hit social media
Gushing thanks to the passengers and praise for the man she knew only as “Alec,” Mason recounted the day’s events. Word of the “hero” bus driver quickly spread.