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Train conductor praised for powerful message on World Suicide Prevention Day

The member of staff pointed people towards resources on the Samaritans website.

A train near Londonderry (Paul Faith/PA)
A train near Londonderry (Paul Faith/PA)

By Edd Dracott, PA

A train conductor has been praised for a speech encouraging people to look out for their fellow passengers.

The member of staff made the speech, in which he pointed people towards resources on the Samaritans website, on a Translink train from Belfast to Londonderry on Tuesday, which was World Suicide Day.

Speaking over the train’s public address system on the 3pm service, he said: “When you get on the train folks, how many of us talk to the person beside us or in front of us, even to say hello or good morning, talk about the weather or the state of the roads?

“It rarely happens. It rarely happens.

“So folks, some people, although they may choose to isolate themselves from others – some people, it’s not their choice.

“There are people out there who maybe have no family, maybe no friends. There are people that maybe do, but find it difficult to express themselves.

“Maybe it is just a smile or a wee chat on the train on the way to work or on the way to the shops that might bring them from the brink; just a little smile from a stranger to tell them that they are doing well, or in any way at all that might kindle in them the hope that life is a good thing.

“OK, it’s bad at times, but it’s essentially good – it’s a gift and it’s worth having.

“So, do us a wee favour folks. If you get a minute, go online and check the Samaritans website on ways in which you can help others if you ever find yourself, God forbid, in a situation where you might have to.

“But even if you get on the train or the bus or wherever and you see somebody who might be in need of a wee bit of a chat – why not initiate a conversation with them because that might be the ray of sunshine for which they have been yearning – you’d never know.”

The sentiment was met with a round of applause from the passengers on board.

The moment was captured on video by one commuter, Paul McAleer, 41, who felt it demonstrated “sensitivity and compassion”.

The Queen’s University nursing lecturer told PA: “His message that people should engage in more friendly interaction was heartfelt and sincere.

“He also gave good advice about how people can connect with services such as the Samaritans, if they or someone they know is being affected by suicide.

“I think he showed sensitivity and compassion, and really went the extra mile – the applause he received was well deserved.”

Mr McAleer, from Portglenone, said the conductor and his colleagues “should feel really proud” and added: “I think kindness can have a profoundly positive and often unknown impact on others. Hope can grow from the smallest of places.”

PA

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