19-year-old Keane, a second year student taking the Higher Nitec in Rapid Transit Engineering course at Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College West, first learned about the Caring Commuter Champion initiative when he was selected by his teacher to introduce the Public Transport Inclusivity Course to Minister Grace Fu, during her visit to Jurong East Bus Interchange.
Keane (second from left) shared about the Public Transport Inclusivity course with Minister Grace Fu on 30 January 2021
(Photo: Mr Ozbee Kee, ITE Senior Lecturer)
Prior to this sharing, Keane had attended the 2-hour Caring Commuter Champion training jointly organised by the Caring SG Commuters Committee and SG Enable, where he learned how to help or showcase the appropriate disability etiquette when communicating with people with disabilities.
Everyone can offer help regardless of age
After the training session, Keane now feels more empowered to help and is always on the lookout for commuters in need while on public transport. “I am more confident in helping commuters in need because I can better identify them,” he says. Being a youth, Keane also recognises the importance of inculcating a gracious commuter culture in everyone.
He shared that sometime in mid-August, he had spotted an elderly woman who had alighted at the same bus stop as him. She was pushing a trolley and appeared to have some difficulty walking. He offered to help but she was initially hesitant to accept. Eventually, she agreed to let Keane push the trolley for her.
Keane opines that a small act of kindness goes a long way. He observed that commuters are sometimes hesitant to help others or are perhaps unsure on how to help them appropriately. They may also be “too shy” to approach commuters who might need help for fear of being rejected by them.
However, he also believes that being a Caring Commuter Champion is more than just helping commuters in need. It is also about encouraging others to make small but impactful gestures in their daily lives. He thinks that we should all put others first and help those in need, and shared that such acts make him feel warm and happy.
“I hope to be able to encourage more students and my peers to take up this training as most of us take public transport every day. Being a volunteer is priceless! We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone for sure.”
About the Caring Commuter Champion
The Caring Commuter Champion is a volunteer programme that aims to educate commuters about the possible challenges faced by commuters in need. Volunteers are encouraged to step in to help by following the 3As framework of Assess, Ask, then Assist.
Sign up to be a Caring Commuter Champion here!