Lothian Buses driver hailed for caring actions

Pawel Gibula waited with the elderly lady who had forgotten her identity. Picture: Greg Macvean
Pawel Gibula waited with the elderly lady who had forgotten her identity. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A BUS driver who stopped mid-journey to care for an elderly woman who was lost in freezing conditions has been applauded for his “selfless” actions.

Pawel Gibula, 35, was driving a late-night number 11 bus through Leith when he noticed the distressed woman standing behind a bus stop in Newhaven Road.

The Lothian Buses employee pulled over to speak to the woman, who had forgotten her identity.

Mr Gibula, from Bilston, helped her on board the bus to warm up before waiting with her for half an hour until police arrived.

He also made sure passengers on the 11.54pm service travelling from Ocean Terminal to Hyvots Bank got on the next bus.

One passenger, Edinburgh University graduate Katie Sellers, labelled the driver a “real credit” to his employer and said she had been left feeling “grateful and impressed”.

A modest Mr Gibula denied his actions had been exceptional, insisting any of his Edinburgh colleagues would have done the same for a person in distress.

The father-of-two said he had recognised the signs of dementia because his grandmother suffered from the same medical condition.

“The first thing I noticed was that she was an older lady and she was wearing sandals,” he said.

“That shocked me – no-one wears sandals in winter at this time of night.

“I stopped the bus, turned the engine off, took my phone and put the address she’d given me into Google Maps.

“It turned out that it was the exact address where we were just beside the bus stop. She said: ‘I’m confused and lost.’

“She looked distressed – you could actually see it on her face. I had a grandma who had dementia and I know the look.”

Mr Gibula, who has worked as a driver with Lothian Buses for almost seven years, apologised to his passengers before walking the elderly woman to the address she had given.

He found she had no house keys and decided to stay with her after calling the police and acting on their advice.

“To be honest I’m overwhelmed by all the reaction,” he said. “It was a simple, normal deed. There’s nothing extraordinary. Every single person or driver from our company would do the same thing.”

Lothian Buses chief executive Ian Craig said: “It’s the quality of our staff that sets Lothian Buses apart, as we saw at the recent UK Bus Awards where one of our drivers was recognised as the best in the UK.

“I know Pawel feels he only acted as others would do in the same situation, but the credit he is getting is well deserved.

“He really went above and beyond the call of duty and helped that lady to get the care and support she needed.”

dale.miller@edinburghnews.com