A bus driver has been hailed a hero after leaping into action when he saw an elderly man fall as he drove along a busy street.
Stephen Soppelsa brought his vehicle packed with passengers to a quick halt and came to the rescue when he spotted the pensioner take a nasty tumble and collapse in the middle of the road.
He did a wonderful thing helping this old man and I think he deserves all the praise coming to him which is why I spoke outLucy-Lea Carroll
The drama began when the Lowton dad-of-two saw the accident as he travelled along Railway Road.
He jumped down from his cab and, after establishing that the OAP hadn’t been seriously injured and that he was declining any suggestion of calling an ambulance, helped him carefully into a front seat of the No 593 service.
Stephen knew his next route would take him near to the elderly gent’s address, so he transferred him to another bus at the bus station, the No 595, before delivering him home, even walking the grateful gentleman to his doorstep to see him safely inside.
Modest Stephen, a driver with Jim Stones’ for 12 years, didn’t tell bosses back at the Derby Street West depot of his heart-warming errand.
And they only discovered his caring actions after mention was made on social media, by student Lucy-Lea Carroll, who witnessed the incident.
Lucy-Lea, 17, told the Evening Post she had been waiting for her own bus when she was surprised to see Mr Soppelsa halt his bus.
Student Lucy-Lea said: “He did a wonderful thing helping this old man and I think he deserves all the praise coming to him which is why I spoke out.
“It is the real spirit of Christmas in action.
“The old man turned around and smiled and waived to us all, so he was clearly very grateful.”
Transport manager of Jim Stones Coaches, Rob Dyson, said that he wasn’t surprised by Stephen’s actions.
Mr Dyson said: “Stephen is a good character who puts the community first, as, I believe, all our drivers do. So in that respect I am not surprised by his actions, but we are certainly proud of him.”
Today Mr Soppelsa attempted to play down his actions.
He insisted that all his colleagues would have done similar to help the pensioner, who he only knew by his first name of Norman.
He said: “He was actually lying in the middle of the road sprawled out. My natural reaction was, stop the traffic and get off to help him. He had slight injuries but just wanted to go home.
“I was chatting to him to see if he was alright and when I asked him where he lived I soon realised that was on the route of the next bus duty for me that morning so I put him on that.
“When we were opposite his house, I stopped and showed him to his door and wished him well.”