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Hero workers: Why we had to help women in danger

Wednesday 24th March 2021 12:01

Rob Lazell and Chad Hodgson who helped two women in danger in London

Rob Lazell (left) and Chad Hodgson

Two hero Thames Water workers have told of the moment they helped two women in danger in separate incidents in London.

Rob Lazell stopped to assist a young motorist in distress on the A20 in Sidcup while Chad Hodgson gave lifesaving first aid to a pedestrian who had collapsed in Kingston.

As key workers during the pandemic, Rob and Chad are part of a large team of engineers keeping taps flowing and toilets flushing across the capital.

Trained first-aider Chad, 22, who lives in Surbiton, was driving to Mogden Sewage Works when he saw a woman had collapsed outside Kingston Crown Court.

“I don’t know how it caught my eye, but I saw these arms sticking up in the air from behind a wall,” he said.

“I pulled over straightaway and dialled 999 as I ran over. The lady was blue and wasn’t breathing. I made her more comfortable and was just about to start CPR when she suddenly gasped for air and began breathing on her own. That’s when then the ambulance arrived.

“I sat down for a few minutes and one of the paramedics came over and said ‘you’ve done a great job. It would’ve been a completely different story if you hadn’t helped.’

“My mum was a nurse, so growing up there were circumstances when we were out and mum has dealt with it, so it’s always been part of my life to help others. I just hope the lady is OK now.”

Chad urged everyone to learn basic first aid, saying: “Many of us have children so at home it’s a life-saver if they start choking on food, but also for work – if someone is injured you know what to do.”

Rob Lazell, a 23-year veteran at Thames Water, was driving along the A20 when he saw a car that had been abandoned in the middle of the road. Nearby a young woman was “sobbing her heart out”.

“I stopped but didn’t get out of the van as I didn’t want to intimidate her, and said ‘can I help you?,’ ‘please let me help you’,” said Rob. 

“She kept saying she was fine, so I pulled away and circled the roundabout for about 10 minutes, keeping an eye on her from a safe distance.

“I called the police and said there’s a vulnerable young girl who needs help. I told them I couldn’t leave her until they got there.

“She then started walking down back onto the A20. I said, ‘let’s go back to the top of the road, you’re going to get hurt here,’ but she got into the car and that’s when the police turned up. I said to her ‘I’m really sorry but I had to make sure you were safe.’

“I would’ve done it to anyone. I’ve got three girls myself. I’ve had depression myself. She’d obviously hit a very low point. I couldn’t have gone to work and left her there.”

Writing anonymously on a Facebook group the next day, the young woman said: “Last night I hit a low and felt past the point of no return. A man in a Thames Water van wouldn’t accept the fact that I said I was fine, he kept a safe distance from me, didn’t make me feel uncomfortable and called the police.

“I just wanted to say thank you because I know I didn’t seem grateful last night but I am, so thank you so much xx.”