The driver-cum-conductor pair, who lost their lives when their KSRTC Volvo bus met with an accident near Tiruppur, had a commendable track record, with their humanitarian ways winning them accolades from within the organisation and from passengers.
In July 2018, the KSRTC’s then Chairman and Managing Director Tomin Thachankery issued a special commendation letter to V.D. Gireesh from Perumbavoor and V.R. Baiju from Piravom after they proactively intervened to save the life of a woman passenger. Kavitha Warrier, a passenger, had seizures while the KSRTC Garuda Volvo bus was passing through Hosur.
The driver took a U-turn and drove 3 km to the nearest hospital. With the hospital insisting that there had to be a bystander, they contacted the KSRTC officials, who suggested that Baiju stay back at the hospital, till her relatives arrived. The commendation letter issued by the KSRTC spoke of their proactive intervention raising KSRTC’s image before the public. On Thursday, Dr. Warrier noted on Facebook that she lost a father figure who saved her life.
Their friendly demeanour endeared them to passengers on the Bengaluru route, where the KSRTC faced stiff competition from private luxury buses, said Aliyar, an office-bearer of Kerala State Transport Workers Union. Baiju was the Ernakulam unit president of the union, which is affiliated to the INTUC.
Mr. Aliyar spoke of how the duo also helped rush a child, who suffered from epileptic fit while travelling to Bengaluru, to a hospital. “They also ensured that no passenger who had reserved a seat missed their bus, by even waiting for a few minutes till they made it to the bus stands/stops.”