The RailStaff Awards 2024

Nominations for Samaritans Lifesaver Award

Helen Child

Said the following about Sean Sullivan:

“We would like to nominate Sean Sullivan, a Train Manager at Chiltern Railways, for the Samaritans Lifesaver Award 2022.

While Sean was in the process of undertaking his duties as a Train Manager, he noticed a vulnerable lady on the platform. She was visibly upset and withdrawn from those around her. Rail colleagues are consistently told that if something doesn’t feel quite right, and it they believe somebody might need help, they should trust their instincts and start a conversation. Sean did just that.

Sean trusted his instincts, approached her and started that conversation. In response, the lady hugged him, and agreed to come on the train that Sean was managing so that they could have a chat. This is a quintessential example of how making that initial approach and offering an ear to hear can go a long way to changing the course of somebody’s actions and decisions in a state of distress.

Sean showed patience and his caring manner meant that the vulnerable passenger was able to be open and honest with him during their journey. The passenger admitted to Sean that she had considered taking her life that morning, and that his kindness put a pause to her suicidal thoughts.

During their conversation, Sean discovered that the passenger had family along the route, and that the train was due to stop at the town. Sean recognised that his duty of care went beyond the moment that the passenger left the train and called ahead to the Station Manager, arranging for her to be met off the train.

The wellbeing of those on our stations and trains is of paramount importance to rail staff across the country, and Sean embodies those values as a Chiltern Railways employee. His selflessness and courageousness in trusting his instincts and starting that conversation likely saved a life that morning, and we believe this intervention should be recognised with a Samaritans Lifesaver Award.“