This might be a long one.. but please read this to the end and tell me if I am being stupid…
As many of you may know, on Wednesday 28th of February, I put up a Facebook status offering lifts with my 4×4 to Healthcare Workers because I knew the snow coming was going to be horrendous. (my knees told me) I had no idea that when I woke up on Thursday morning 1st March I would have had over 6700 post shares and my inbox swamped with literally hundreds of messages.
I spent the lull before the chaos getting the Frontera ready. Salt, CB, Shovel, First Aid Kit, Straps, etc.. Then I popped into YCC to give my number. I also messaged staff I knew in PCH and gave my number. That day I was contacted and spoke to Wales Online and asked them to mention that help was needed in the Gwent area as I had a lot of requests for Royal Gwent staff. Also in that piece was a gentleman down in Swansea who was ready to help.
Then the snow hit.. HARD.
The rest of Thursday was an absolute blur. I was literally all over the place YCC, YCR, PCH, RGH, UHW… all over Cwm Taf basically. Nurses, Doctors, HCA’s etc etc.. all deposited into work safely. During this time I was also contacted by Radio Wales to ask if they could talk to me live on their Morning Breakfast Show. I said I would do my best to be in a position to talk to them as I wanted to try and get more help out there.
It was gone 1am by the time I put the key in the front door, knowing that I would have to get up at 5am to do 6am pick-ups. (I had transported 30 people that day)
I think I managed maybe 3 hours sleep.. somewhere around that. Up and out again.
Friday morning at 8:15am Radio Wales called and I was live on air.. again I was asked about what made me want to help. I feel I owe a huge debt to the NHS, I feel we all do. We take it for granted and that is NOT GOOD. We need to fight for it. Anyway I mentioned that I could never pay back what I owe the NHS so to me this seems such a tiny gesture to me. They chatted to one of the nurses and we had a giggle (a word on all the people I transported.. they were SO MUCH FUN! These are living angels that walk amongst us.)
I was SERIOUSLY flagging when just before 9am my pal Mark (fellow 4×4 owner ) sent me a message saying “Need a hand?” … I think I may have cried a little.. YES.. bloody hell yes!
At some point during Friday I was BEYOND relieved to see that a 4×4 group had started a FB group for helping Healthcare Staff get to/from work.. slowly, throughout the day I started seeing more and more 4×4’s out there. People helping out… also Mountain Rescue were out in force too adding to the transport team. BRILLIANT!
Friday FLEW by (radio 4 also contacted me as did BBC Wales News who wanted to film.. I explained politely that my priority was transporting staff and couldn’t really stop to be filmed… I’ve worked in TV.. I know how long things can take.) and I actually got into bed by 10pm!! YAY!
Saturday there was still no public transport and some main routes were littered with abandoned vehicles.. (Seriously people.. don’t do this.. you’re stopping the ploughs and the emergency services from getting to where they need to be.. and to the ARSEHOLE with the Fiesta that pulled out of his parking space on Coedpenmaen Rd only to travel 6 feet and then give up completely blocking the street.. YOU ARE A DICK!! )
Off out again at 5:30am more laughing Nurses picked up and taken to work, others picked up and taken home.. after the morning shift was done Mark and me even managed some breakfast in Sainsbury’s Caf.. (where they serve your “extras” (mushrooms, Black pud, etc) on separate plates.. (WTF is that all about??)
Back out in the evening for the night shifts.. It finally felt like we had a rhythm!
Sunday came and the snow turned to rain a couple of morning lifts and then it was over. 🙂
Monday.. it was like it had never happened!!
Now, I received some lovely messages from friends and acquaintances, many telling me that my Mam would be proud.. or that I had done my Mam proud.. this was lovely for me to hear (for those that read my blog that aren’t on FB. My Mam sadly succumbed to cancer on New Years Eve. I miss her so much, even though I know she is always with me) and meant more to me than anything.
Others were also saying that their faith in humanity was at least in part restored… Which is also lovely (although I’m mostly with Roy from “IT Crowd” on this “People!! What a bunch of BASTARDS!!” heheheh)
I joined the 4×4 FB group and saw words like “hero” and I have to say it doesn’t bode well with me. From the start I said “I am no hero, the people I am helping get to work are the real heroes. I am just doing what I can to help. I was brought up to believe that if help is needed and you are in a position to help then providing your help is your duty.” I didn’t and still don’t want any kind of elaborate praise. The smiles and the “thank you” from the staff are enough. Hearing “Well done you!” is also fine, because the one thing I am proud of is my driving. I drove really well, in crazy conditions, up bonkers inclines and through twisty streets. Granted, my little Frontera performed beautifully.. but hearing one compliment from a male nurse “Bloody hell, you drive better in snow than I do in the summer!!” made me BEAM with pride.
Now, in the aftermath there are conversations regarding “community awards” and “good samaritan awards” and the 4×4 group are ALL over this.. I don’t like it. Seriously. One of the awards is “The Pride of Gwent” from the South Wales Argus.. someone nominated the groups drivers for an award. Having looked at the other nominees (people who have for years tirelessly worked for a variety of worthwhile community projects, raised LOADS of money for charities.. etc etc…) What any of us did HAS NO PLACE there..
I voiced this opinion thusly.. “Whatever, I am not interested. I’d rather it go to any one of the individuals already nominated who have done some truly amazing things”
The reply I got shocked me.. “That’s a bit degrading when you have no idea of the work that has been done over the extreme weather that has been lately, the lives saved, the patients, old and infirm that have been helped”
To me, this is categorically WRONG.. to me it’s the complete WRONG attitude to have.
I expressed this… “All I did was drive a capable vehicle well in adverse conditions.. which is something that most of us actually PAY to do just for fun! Awards? Bollocks. I had my reward. Helping was enough.”
Please tell me if you think I am wrong here but I think spending a few of days driving a 4×4 in the snow giving lifts to hospital staff is NOT award worthy.. it was FOUR days for me goodnesses sake and only 2 for most of the people on that group. How can anyone feel they deserve this!??! How can people be THAT vain to think the mantle “hero” fits them? ?
Were the “thanks” and smiles and the feeling of doing something good not enough!?!?!(ok, I had sweets and cake too.. but still that was MORE than enough)
One last thing.. I want to find the person that invented the phrase “Not all heroes wear capes” and hoof them in the groin… ALL true heroes wear scrubs.
.. I look forward to your responses on this.