A former homeless man and Big Issue seller has been voted the happiest bus driver in London.
50-year-old Patrick Lawson found himself trapped in a vicious cycle of violence, drugs, and imprisonment from childhood. But after being homeless for two decades, he managed to turn his life around.
He was helped by a programme called the Single Homeless Project (SHP). The project aims to help homeless people rebuild their lives and give them support in finding employment. Already having a bus driving licence, Lawson believed becoming a bus driver again was the obvious choice. He managed to get a job with social enterprise Hackney Community Transport (HCT) Group.
Driving the 26 bus from Hackney Wick to Waterloo station Lawson told CBS News: “Every day, every journey, every bus stop I’ve stopped at for 18 months, I say ‘hi’ to everyone.”
After passengers experienced such a pleasant encounter with Lawson, 45 of them decided to contact his employers to compliment him to spread his genuine positivity.
Lawson told the Big Issue that if he is not talking or smiling at people, he is miserable. He has made a conscious decision to do so and he would like to do it even more. Spreading such positivity has led to Lawson receiving the ‘Hello London Award’ for his outstanding customer service at the Transport for London annual London Bus Awards.
Lawson said: “The only thing I don’t like is when I see a bus in front of me at a stop… they’re going to take all my passengers”. Lawson continues to receive praise from passengers and be the happy bus driver that he is.