A paramedic who tried to track down the person who left a £5 note on his ambulance in Littlehampton said it was ‘unbelievable’ that his Facebook post went viral.
Gareth Pryor and his fellow crewmate Tom Barlow, who work for South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb), were helping a patient in Western Road during a night shift on Monday. When Tom came out to move their ambulance, a message had been left on the windscreen along with the money which said ‘Keep up the good work :) x’.
He then showed Gareth, who said it made them feel ‘over the moon’.
The 46-year-old from Rustington said: “There has been so much bad press about ambulances blocking roads and driveways, and people leaving notes that are not nice, so to get something like that really lifted our spirits.
“We don’t expect thanks for what we do – we do it because we love helping people – but that really brightened our night.”
The pair spent their present on their children, with Gareth buying Sainsbury’s LEGO cards while Tom took home Kinder Eggs for his five-year-old son and three-year-old daughter, who ‘pretty much inhaled’ the sweet treats.
The 30-year-old from Burgess Hill explained the story of the eggs to his eldest. He said: “My little boy is very proud of me, driving the old ‘nee-naws’.”
As the note was anonymous, and they were not parked over someone’s drive, it has been hard to track down the mystery note-writer – so Gareth decided to write a public post on Facebook, thanking them for their generosity.
What happened next exceeded both of their expectations. As of Thursday, the post had more than 900 shares and had been posted in various community groups on the social media platform.
Gareth said: “It was unbelievable. We can’t believe it, it’s gone crazy. It’s nice, because a lot of people are commenting on it and giving us thanks. It does make you realise how appreciated you are really.”
Tom added: “As an ambulance service, Secamb has been under a lot of pressure and has got quite a bad rap in the papers, so this shows there are nice stories out there and we are appreciated by people.”
While neither of the pair had received negative messages on their windscreens, they said they knew colleagues who had, and that from time to time people would ask them to move. Gareth said: “If we are at a job that is time-critical, and you have a lot of equipment you need to get out, you have to just park the ambulance safely and run.
“On a job that isn’t so urgent, we will always find somewhere to park where we aren’t causing an obstruction.”
To the person who left the note, Tom said: “We would like to say a big thank you to you. It means a lot to us.”
Were you the person who left the note? If so, we would love to speak to you. Email our reporter James Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01903 282 377.