AN ELDERLY woman who suffered a stroke at home lay undiscovered for hours until a concerned bus driver took action when she failed to appear for her scheduled lift.
Steve Barton has been credited with going "above and beyond" when he went out of his way to check on Maureen Moore and raise the alarm when she was not waiting outside her Huntington home for her lift with the York Dial-A-Ride service.
Praising his actions, Mrs Moore's daughter Lesley Peatfield said her mother had probably been on the floor for about six hours and, without his efforts, it could have been another four or five hours before she was found.
She said: "My mum uses the service regularly, and last Tuesday the bus turned up but my mum wasn't waiting for him as usual. The driver spent a while looking around her bungalow but couldn't raise her. He tried the neighbours but they weren't in.
"He then took the bus into York and dropped off the passengers, and came back to Mum's bungalow and managed to alert a neighbour. She managed to ring me at work, got a key out of the safe we have, but mum had left a key in the door so they couldn't get in."
Once Mr Barton had raised the alarm, a neighbour managed to open a window at the bungalow and climbed into the house, where they found Mrs Moore collapsed on the floor.
Doctors at York Hospital discovered Mrs Moore, who is in her eighties, had suffered a stroke. She is currently recuperating and was yesterday stable, "bright and responsive", and communicating well from her hospital bed.
Mrs Peatfield said: "It's absolutely above and beyond. He took the other people to York and came back to check on her.
"I want to say thank you very much to him for going back because chances are no-one would have been round until that afternoon and who knows what would have happened in the meantime."
Mr Barton said the work of the neighbours he spoke to was just as important as him alerting them to Mrs Moore's absence.
He said: "I didn't do anything above what I would normally do if it was my own mum, I think. You know when you wake up in the morning and think something's going to go wrong? I'd had that.
"I don't think I did much. I just raised the alarm. I suppose without me knocking on the neighbours' doors she could've been on the floor much longer. It's all just part and parcel of the job really, you just care for people and look out for them and if we know they are supposed to be coming out and they're not there, you think something's up."
Carol Hargreaves, from Dial-A-Ride, said: "We all say it's not just about transporting people from A to B. It's like we're a family, and if someone isn't where they should be we want to know if there's something wrong and if there is, we try to put it right, or at least try to help as much as we can.
"He said it was only what any other driver would have done. I said he had to realise this lady is probably alive because he took the time and trouble to contact people."
Speaking for Mrs Moore's three children, grandchildren and great-granddaughter Lacie, Mrs Peatfield said: "We, as a family, are so grateful for all the people that were there for her that morning, it has restored our faith in human nature."