Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Kiwis rally around injured bus driver, raise nearly $15k

Fundraising from kind-hearted Kiwis for a bus driver who was viciously attacked by three youths, means he can not only buy new glasses, but also take a few extra days off work to recuperate.

The 69-year-old driver, who does not want to be named, had stopped near Railside Pl in Henderson about 8.30pm on Sunday to pick up a passenger.

One jumped on, quickly followed by two others, all of whom mimicked the scanning sound made when someone swipes their bus card.

The driver asked them to tag on but received a hurl of abuse in response. The trio – two girls and a boy – then attacked him, with one girl using her nails in an attempt to gouge his eyes out.

He eventually got them off the bus and called police. The trio, aged 14 and 15, were arrested and have been referred to Youth Aid.

The attack drew the ire of Kiwis around the country many of whom emailed the Herald keen to help the driver replace his $800 glasses.

Within about 15 minutes, a $1000 had been raised on Monday morning and at 7.30am today, the givealittle page sat at $14,782.

The man’s daughter, Gabi Wildbore, said her father had been upset about having his glasses broken in the attack and was concerned about how he was going to replace them.

But today, Wildbore said yesterday was completely overwhelming.

“I’m overwhelmed and humbled and this level of care and concern from the New Zealand public blows my mind.

“Our good people outshine the bad. The fundraising means dad can stay home and recuperate, and ensure he’s ready for his next shift.”

The driver was shocked to learn the givealittle page was nearing $15,000 this morning.

“Oh really, it’s just stunning. I’m just gobsmacked at people’s generosity. I just can’t believe that so many people have stood beside me and supported me.

“It’s just wonderful.”

As for his eye, it was still sore and his vision was limited today but he was off to his doctor soon where he also expected to be given a tetanus injection.

“My eye is still sore and I’m going to the doctor today. I suppose I will need to get a tetanus injection.

“It’s festering a bit.

“I can’t read and I need my glasses for driving.”

With the extra money raised through givealittle, the man said he’d not only be able to get new glasses but also take a few extra days off work.

As for what sort of specs he might splash out on, he replied “maybe I’ll get some Elton John glasses”.

While a steady stream of Kiwis expressed their shock and sadness at the unprovoked attack on the former policeman and NZ Army soldier, Auckland mayor Phil Goff and Auckland Transport chief executive Shane Ellison labelled the attack a “disgrace” and said it had been one of 16 reported incidents on the city’s train, bus, ferry and security staff so far during lockdown.

“It is appalling that someone should be attacked while doing their job as an essential worker,” Goff said.

“They deserve our respect and appreciation for the vital role they play within our community.

“They certainly should not be subjected to physical violence and I ask everyone to contact the police if they witness any such behaviour in their community.”

Ellison says the increasing number of attacks against essential transport workers is a disgrace.

“It’s a disgrace. Our bus drivers and other essential workers are showing enormous courage supporting Aucklanders. It’s just unacceptable that anyone should be attacked while at work at any time – let alone now.”

* The Herald was also inundated with comments from concerned Kiwis.

Here’s what a few of you had to say;

• ‘I was shocked by the article this morning … I would like to assist him in at least payingto replace his glasses’,

• ‘How horrible! I would love to donate some money to help him and I’m sure a lot of other people would too’,

• ‘I work for Specsavers Pakuranga, and would like to help … that is heartbreaking and I feel for the bus driver’,

• ‘I was disgusted to read about the attack on the bus driver by the youths. I would hate that to be my father or grandfather’,

• ‘I can’t believe people would do this’,

• ‘This is just unacceptable … I live here myself and think that people here do anything they want and can absolutely get away with it’,

•’What a joke [offenders being referred to Youth Aid]. They’ll get a wet rag slapped on their arm’.

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