Transport Heroes Part 3 - Happy driving

If Mr Lim Yew Huat was a song, he would be Pharrell William’s global pop hit ‘Happy’. The Bus Captain was a very happy senior during our interview with him. He told us he joined SBS Transit as a Bus Captain when he was 24. Now, at 65, he still hasn’t lost the love and drive he has for his job. In fact, he looks forward to steering the wheel each day. Mr Lim impressed us with his exuberant personality and we suspect that the secret to his happiness (and youthful good looks, may we add) might just be his attitude:

1. Gratitude: He counts his blessings (and is generous with his ‘thank yous’!)
“I’m grateful for my job. I love my job and I love meeting new people every day. Over the years, I have forged an emotional attachment with my job and company. I used to be a Bus Captain. Now, I’m a Chief Bus Captain at SBS Transit. I’m very happy and there is a huge sense of satisfaction when my passengers compliment me. It makes me feel that joining SBS Transit was the right decision. I have a stable job, fixed working hours and a supportive company, what more can I ask for? By the way, I have memorised over 40 routes in Singapore; even my wife is envious of my good memory!” (laughs)

Saying thank you has become a habit because I am always thanking my passengers! I am so happy… I love my family, especially my wife! Without her, I wouldn’t be where I am today. She’s the one who helps take care of the family when I’m working. I wouldn’t have achieved so much if not for her. I really have to thank her and I mean this with all my heart. As I’m saying this, I’m bursting with happiness.

I’m also thankful to my company for showering me with so many opportunities. Recently, I went to Hong Kong and won the Asia Pacific Customer Service Award… only two Singaporeans have won it.

Wearing his badge with pride… Mr Lim was promoted to Chief Bus Captain in May 2015.

2. Grit: He has overcome tough times
“Before joining SBS Transit, I was a lorry driver. It was very tough work, especially when we had to unload all the heavy goods. There were times when it rained heavily and I had to wait for the rain to stop before continuing. The working hours were irregular too. As a result, I had to work overnight. When I think about how tough it was in the past, it makes me very thankful for everything I have in my life now.”

3. Gracious and Genuine: He treats difficult passengers with love
“Once, a passenger angrily remarked that my bus took a very long time to arrive. She was lashing out in Hokkien and I was rather afraid. Even though I was on time, I wasn’t angry as I understood her frustration. I still smiled and said ‘sorry’ when she boarded. You don’t need to argue… arguments are endless. Just apologise. If the person you are apologising to isn’t appeased, apologise again. As Bus Captains, we need to be polite. Good service and attitude are the keys to success. When my passengers are happy, I am happy. I cannot emphasise that enough!”

Sorry doesn’t seem to be the hardest word… For Mr Lim, apologising to and thanking his passengers come easily.

4. Growth: He embraces lifelong learning
“I believe that we need to learn as much as possible. If not, you’ll lose your value. As humans, as long as you’re willing to learn, you’re okay. Driving buses now is very different from the past. Before, the buses were manual and not air-conditioned. There were bus ticket collectors too. Now, everything is electronically operated. The location and timing of buses are computed too. This shows that we are progressing and I need to keep learning new things and upgrading myself. If I don’t know anything, I’ll always ask and learn. I’m happy when I get to learn new things. We need to strive for improvement and I encourage seniors to have the courage to keep learning. You will succeed if you have the willingness to learn.”

busdriver 2
Meet the happy bus driver… Mr Lim loves his job and navigates through life with optimism.

This story is part of an 'Everyday Heroes' series. To read our previous story featuring 57-year-old ComfortDelGro taxi driver Colin Hey, click here.

Article published on: 12/12/2016