Thursday, October 14, 2010

Death of a friend .

Matthew Thomas (on the left) with David Rhys Evans (on the right) before their night out in Bangkok.

It is almost two weeks now since I read the very sad news that David Rhys Evans (pictured on the right, above) has died. His unexpected and sudden death was a great shock to me. It has taken me this long to come to terms with David's death and write this blog post in his memory. I have known David Evans for many years as a coach driver at the Veolia Transport Cymru depot in Treforest, where I worked alongside him doing the National Express contract.

David was a very popular driver who will be sadly missed by all the other drivers on the National Express contract. David was a driver of the old school, from an era where service to the passenger was the top priority rather than the glossy, league tabled customer-focused circus our industry has turned into today. David was a good driver who believed in doing things right, right for the driver, right for the passenger and right for the company. I remember the days before the wearing of seat belts became mandatory, David saying to me one day that it was only me and him in the whole depot who always wore their seat belt. David was not just a good bloke but also a sensible bloke.

David always liked his holidays and being a bachelor, he could afford to have more holidays than everyone else. I always enjoyed listening to the tales of his holidays. The many hotels he had stayed in, the people he had met, the trains he had travelled on. Tales of the humourous incidents he encountered and wonderful excursions he went on, like the one involving the war tunnels in Cambodia. David enjoyed many holidays in the Far East and by keeping costs down he managed to enjoy longer and longer holidays each year. David would leave our depot in the autumn each year and return the next year in the spring to resume his job driving coaches on the National Express contract. David's return each spring would bring a ray of sunshine into our depot at Treforest and it would really brighten up the mood of our workforce. David really enjoyed his time away in the Far East and he always brought back that hedonistic lifestyle with him. I remember many years ago swapping coaches in London with the Liverpool drivers. One day the Liverpool drivers looked shocked, because they had not met David before. They asked me what the score was with David, because they spotted he was barefoot! Ah! I assured them, David is a good bloke and because he has spent a lot of his time in the Far East, that is why you see him barefoot today!

Sadly when somebody dies you always wonder what they leave behind. The memory David Evans leaves me is one of a joy for life and a hedonistic lifestyle. That we in Britain are very lucky with our high standard of living and that many people throughout the Far East have been born into a lifetime of poverty. We should live each day and count our blessings because we do not know what is around the corner.

Looking at the old emails that David sent me when he was away on holiday brings me to tears. Reading those emails again is just like standing next to David and talking to him in the bus garage. David Rhys Evans went off on holiday but sadly by the end of September he died. David went to the Philippines and it appears he was electrocuted in the shower. Health and safety is rather different in the Far East. The news of his death has shocked everyone at Veolia Treforest. Like most coach operators there will always be a staff turnover and drivers get used to this. But when you loose one of your own in death, it really hurts. Most of our drivers really enjoy foreign holidays and shamefully we have all had that painful yet private thought, that could have been me and what a dreadful way to go. We were all shocked to be reminded that you never know just what is around the corner.

My thoughts are with David's surviving family and friends. I am sorry for their loss and David will be very sadly missed from our workforce at Veolia Treforest.

Assalamu alaikum.
Lovely write up about a friend who is sadly no longer with us. That picture was taken in the lobby of the Rembrandt hotel, just off Sukhumvit, soi 18,Bangkok.Lisa took the photo just before our 'infamous' night out!!!!!

It will be strange when I am in Pattaya next month as Dave was meant to meet us out there and show us the sights!!

Will definately have a beer in memory of him when I'm out there...
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