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Station employees praised after rescuing guide dog

News   •  Jul 29, 2016 04:49 BST

Southeastern employees have been praised after rescuing a visually impaired passenger’s guide dog at Greenwich station.

The team of six were hailed as heroes after rescuing Rio when he missed his footing and fell between the platform and a stationary train.

Now their actions have been called a ‘shining example’ to others, with their quick-thinking recognised with a nomination for an internal award.

Catherine Todd and her newly qualified German shepherd were travelling from Greenwich to Lewisham on the morning Rio lost his footing.

Station supervisor Jim Smith ran to alert the train driver and prevent him moving off. The driver had already spotted the incident on his CCTV system and worked closely with other station employees and members of the public to get Rio safely back on to the platform.

Rio and Catherine were both visibly shaken by the accident, and although not hurt, the station team invited them into their office for a calming cup of coffee for Catherine and a fresh bowl of water for Rio.

Once Catherine felt comfortable to continue, Jim accompanied Catherine and Rio on the remainder of their journey to Lewisham.

Jim Smith, Station supervisor said: “It was a bit of a hairy moment. All I could think was that I had to stop the train before it was too late. Poor old Rio was a bit shaken by the whole thing, but thankfully he wasn’t hurt. We just wanted to make sure that Catherine and her guide dog Rio were OK and could continue on their journey.”

Since that day, Southeastern station teams at Abbeywood, Greenwich and Lewisham now co-ordinate to make sure Catherine and Rio are always accompanied on their commute and help them with connecting trains. The process has ensured that Catherine and Rio remain confident on the train network.

Catherine Todd said of the station teams: “On that day Jim and the rest of the team at Southeastern were amazing. I really appreciate the team’s commitment to make sure I get to work safely every day. They go beyond the call of duty. Jim is always at the fore, as is the rest of the team, including Darren Curtis, Simon Winter, Gull Webb, Charlotte Brown and Shelley Brown from Greenwich, Abbeywood and Lewisham stations. Every single one of them deserves praise and recognition.”

Commenting on the praise the team has since received, Southeastern Area Manager Sonia Maulson said: “We are extremely proud of the teams at Greenwich, Abbeywood and Lewisham stations, who all help Catherine on her journey. They thoroughly deserve the nomination for their dedicated customer service, quick-wittedness on the day and their caring and compassionate attitude to accompany Catherine since the accident. It’s a perfect example of how our Southeastern employees are consistently going the extra mile for our passengers, not to mention their heroism in rescuing Rio.”

Rob Harris, Guide Dogs London Engagement Manager, added: “I would like to extend our thanks for the outstanding support that the Southeastern team offered Catherine and Rio. It’s this sort of support that is a shining example to other transport hubs and stations in the city.”

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