Pathlight school student and SMRT staff’s bus conversation warms netizens’ hearts

A Facebook post of the incident led to plenty praising the actions of the SMRT staff. Do you know him?

Nigel Chin

Started writing for the passion. Now writing because it’s the only thing I can do.

Published: 8 April 2020, 6:19 PM

For most Singaporeans, a train ride home would have been about making yourself comfortable, giving yourself enough space to scroll through your phone.

Even during this COVID-19 period, the focus might have been on keeping a safe distance from other commuters.

But on Monday (Apr 6), Kelvin Ang came across an interesting encounter between a Pathlight School student and a SMRT staff that warmed his heart – so much so that he felt compelled to document the moment in a Facebook post that has since garnered almost 10,000 shares.

Kelvin wrote that the student, wearing his Pathlight School uniform, had dashed into the train and made himself comfortable a few seats away from him. While he did not pay much attention initially, a conversation between the boy and a stranger – wearing a SMRT uniform – soon caught his attention.

“He was asking the man all sorts of questions, like ‘do you drive a bus?’, ‘is this bus good?’, ‘I noticed they upgraded the bus, do you drive the newest bus?’,” Kelvin wrote in his post, adding that it was obvious to him that the boy was a bus enthusiast.

“He could mumble about technical specifications like Euro 5, Euro 6, and he knows what they mean!”

But what prompted Kelvin to put up the post was how the SMRT staff actively engaged the boy.

“While the boy’s repeated questions may seem a little annoying, the man patiently replied every single question from the boy and he even kept the conversation going, showing the boy pictures and asking the boy questions,” Kelvin wrote.

Praising the SMRT staff, he added: “This SMRT staff is an amazing human being. He treated the boy kindly and he made the boy feel comfortable. He did not belittle the boy and instead, spoke to the boy with patience and respect.

“Thank you sir for being kind and gracious.”

He also pointed out that the incident taught him that there’s a place in Singapore’s society for people with special needs. Noting the boy’s passion for buses, he said that if his interest is nurtured, he can be a real talent in the transport industry.

“These individuals are talented! They can learn quickly and they can even grasp technical concepts. Autism Resource Centre Singapore and Pathlight School are doing a great job at helping these children reach their full potential,” he wrote.

More than 800 comments were left on Kelvin’s post, too. One netizen, Shawn Phua, commented that it was great to see such engagement.

Another, Scarlett CP, said: “Thanks to the boy too, for reaching out and letting the man know there are people who are passionate about his line. He too, motivates him. Kids are special and they bring wonders, treat each one as unique and see the beauty they bring in being themselves and work with that.”

She also pointed out that while people with autism might not function like a neuro-typical person, it does not mean they are abnormal. “Just because they do not fit in the usual mould does not mean there is anything wrong, it means they have something different to bring to the table! If only we can open our hearts and minds, we will be able to see and feel it,” she said.

The next time you come across such a scenario, stay patient and perhaps, even have a chat with them about buses or any other topic they are interested in!

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