Photo: Arjuna Govindam Ramkumar
Engineer Arjuna Govindam Ramkumar first learned about the Caring SG Commuters movement when he saw a poster at the MRT station, inviting nominations for the 2020 Caring Commuter Award.
Inspired to find out more, Ram went to the Caring SG Commuters Portal to find out how he could be part of the movement. That’s where he signed up to attend the ‘Be That Special Someone Today’ webinar, which was held in December 2020.
At the webinar, Ram learned about the experiences of commuters with mobility needs when they use public transport, and saw the importance of lending a helping hand to other commuters in need.
Becoming a Caring Commuter Champion
Motivated by the webinar, Ram signed up to become a Caring Commuter Champion. He saw an invaluable opportunity to learn how to support commuters, as well as to improve himself.
Ram attended an online training session conducted by SG Enable and the Caring SG Commuters Committee, where he learned about different types of disabilities and the appropriate etiquette for interacting with commuters in a caring and mindful manner.
Ram (top left corner) attending the Champion training online with other volunteers (Photo: LTA)
He found the training to be helpful, because it offered him suggestions, and dos and don’ts in rendering assistance to commuters with different needs. Volunteers were also encouraged to follow the 3As framework of Assess, Ask then Assist, when helping others.
Applying lessons learned
Ram shared that he has been able to extend help to fellow commuters with mobility needs more effectively after his training.
He recounted an incident where he assisted an injured commuter at Ang Mo Kio MRT station. A female commuter had fallen at the staircase. She was carrying several bags, which made it difficult for her to get up. From her facial expression, Ram sensed that she was in pain. Ram quickly approached her and asked, “Are you ok, Madam? Do you need any help?”
The commuter seemed hesitant to accept his help during the COVID-19 situation, but Ram told her reassuringly, “It’s ok sister, I don’t mind. It seems like you need someone’s help to stand up and walk down. Let me help you.”
Ram suggested to the lady that she could put her arm around his neck, so that he could assist her down the stairs. Ram made sure to ask her before doing so, in order to ensure her comfort and respect her boundaries.
As Ram helped her down the stairs, the MRT staff arrived with a wheelchair for her. Ram pushed her wheelchair into the MRT staff room so that she could rest.
The commuter thanked Ram and was very grateful for his act of kindness. Although Ram was worried about her injury, he was heartened to know that he was able to help her in some small way.
“I felt like my day was complete,” he shared.
Ram is actively encouraging his family and friends to try out the 3As framework and to ‘be that special someone today’.
“Give yourself a chance to help someone. The feeling after helping someone in need is priceless.”
About Caring Commuter Champion
The Caring Commuter Champion is an initiative by the Caring SG Commuters Committee, which aims to educate volunteers about challenges faced by commuters like the elderly, families with young children, and people with mobility needs.
Sign up to be a Caring Commuter Champion here!