A taxi driver has been hailed a hero after he sprung into action when a teenage boy stopped breathing while suffering a fit in the back of his cab.
Modest Ali Raza, 30, from Burton, has shrugged off praise after he stepped in to help the lad saying he was just doing his job. Mr Raza even refused to take the fare from the teenager after dropping him safely off at home following the incident.
Cabbie Mr Raza had picked up a 17-year-old boy at around 2pm on Saturday, January 6, in Burton, ready to take him to his home in Newhall. But all of a sudden the teenager stopped breathing and was struggling to move as he suffered the fit.
Now the teenager's family have praised the driver, who works for iCars, for his quick-thinking actions and for making sure the lad got home safely.
Mr Raza noticed the teenager was having difficulties and quickly stopped his iCars taxi so he could check on the lad. He soon realised how serious it was and called 999. He was talked through what to do by the operator and the teenager recovered enough so he could be driven home.
Mr Raza told the Burton Mail: “It was just like a normal day. I picked the young lad up and was taking him home when all of a sudden he started to have difficulty breathing.
“I tried to ask him if he was OK but he couldn't reply. Then he started to get worse and he couldn’t move, and he couldn’t breathe. I pulled up to call my base and let them know what was happening and to ask his address so I could get him home safely, but they didn’t know so I called 999.
“I released his seat belt so that he wouldn't hurt himself and after around 15 minutes he started to breathe normally again, so I could ask him where he lived and I took him home.
“He still wasn’t completely conscious, so when I pulled up, I knocked on the door and his grandma came out to take him inside. She told me he had epilepsy and that was why he was unwell in the taxi.”
Mr Raza says he began to feel much more comfortable when the youngster was returned to his family and started to breathe normally again.
He says he was worried about the youngster, but he knew he had to stay calm and use his first aid skills to make sure the boy was okay.
He said: “As a human it was my first priority to save his life and get him to safely with his family. I was extremely worried about him, but I knew I had to stay calm and make sure he was okay.
“I just did my job.”
Mr Raza has been working as a taxi driver in the area for three years and says nothing like this had happened to him before.
The boy’s mother, who did not wish to be named, posted her thanks on Facebook after Mr Raza helped her son when he fell ill.
She wrote: “Thank you to the iCars driver who called an ambulance for my son. I hope you get to read this, I am so grateful.”
She added that her son had had a seizure in the back of the taxi and the driver didn’t even want the fare, but just wanted to make sure her son was all right.
Training to deal with such emergency situations like this is just one of the things that taxi drivers have to go through in order to get a licence, but iCars often sends its drivers on extra courses, to learn how to deal with more unusual, but still important situations.
ICars director Qasim Mohammed, 34, says training courses such as this are important for its drivers so they develop and to ensure that they can do their duty while they are out and about in the area.
He said: “We have to go on safeguarding courses provided by the council as part of our licence agreement, but our drivers go on many more courses to make sure they know what to do in any situation.
“It is when things like this happen that we can see how important the training our drivers go on. He managed to help the passenger and overall, everything went well.”