Target: Mark Hopwood, CEO of England’s train operation firm ‘C2C’
Goal: Reinstate Alan Chittock, a railway worker suspended for pulling a woman in a wheelchair from the tracks
At the Southend Central Station in Essex, five minutes before the arrival of the next inbound train, a woman in her 70’s fell from the platform onto the tracks in her wheelchair and was unable to get up. 50-year-old local railway worker and father of two Alan Chittock, along with three other bystanders, jumped down to pull her to safety and medical assistance. Witnesses say that he acted with extraordinary bravery and speed, one 22-year-old local surmising to the Daily Mirror that “she probably would have got hurt if he hadn’t got involved.” A coworker said of Chittock that he “is well known as a very responsible fellow and has worked at the station for around 30 years.”
Despite eyewitness accounts verifying his action on behalf of a passenger’s life, Chittock found himself the subject of swift corporate attention, and his heroism earned him a suspension; he could be at risk of losing his job because he allegedly failed to follow “safety procedures.” A spokesperson for c2c, the company that operates trains between London and Essex, informed the Mirror, “We have strict rules regarding the quickest way of stopping trains in an emergency. An employee has been suspended while our investigation continues.” According to the company their policy in such emergencies is to press a button which alerts a signaler to halt the train and remain off the rails until given further notice by the signaler, but many, including witnesses and a colleague, insisted Chittock made the right decision and acted courageously. One commuter even said that Chittock “deserves a medal not a suspension.” He is receiving support from the RMT transport workers’ union, who is also calling on the company to review their decision.
By signing this petition, you are urging c2c to reinstate Alan Chittock to his full employment and to award him the back pay he deserves. You are encouraging the company to apologize for the mistake and to recognize Chittock and the other bystanders as heroes who were able to save a life through their swift and courageous action.
Dear c2c CEO Mark Hopwood,
I am extremely disheartened that your company has recently decided to pursue disciplinary action against a long-time employee who recently helped to rescue an elderly passenger from danger after she fell onto the rails in her wheelchair. Civil service workers who commit themselves to the safety of their fellow citizens are to be honored rather than punished, and Alan Chittock’s story should be an inspiration to all global citizens. To suspend or fire an employee who potentially saved another person’s life on the grounds of neglected “safety procedures” is tantamount to valuing bureaucracy over human life and health.
I am urging you to reinstate Mr. Chittock to his full position, including back wages for the period of his wrongful suspension. I encourage your company to make an apology to Mr. Chittock and his family for the unjust action which was taken against him, as well as to recognize him and the three bystanders who jumped in to help as heroes.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Glyn Baker via Wikimedia Commons