Arriva bus company steps in to make prom dream come true for autistic schoolboy in Milton Keynes

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Zak is a huge bus enthusiast

City Arriva bus company bosses have made a dream come true for an autistic schoolboy who has a passion for buses.

Teenager Zac has a vast knowledge about buses and boards them so often that he knows most of the drivers in Milton Keynes and they are happy to chat to him and answer his questions.

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So when it came to his school prom to celebrate the end of his GCSEs, there was only one way Zac wanted to travel – by his own private bus.

A personal Arriva bus will go to Zac's home and take him to his school prom in Milton KeynesA personal Arriva bus will go to Zac's home and take him to his school prom in Milton Keynes
A personal Arriva bus will go to Zac's home and take him to his school prom in Milton Keynes

“All the other kids want to come in flashy cars, but Zak decided that he wants to take a bus to his prom,” said his mum Dalila Debbazi.

"I contacted so many bus companies with no luck. Private ones were quoting me £500 to £600, which is out of my reach."

Dalila posted her plight on her local Facebook group in Newton Leys and was touched by the reaction she received from fellow residents on the estate.

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"I had immense support, everyone was trying to help in their own way,” she said.

Then Arriva bus driver Fernando Rial read her message and offered to contact his manager Charlie to tell him about Zac’s wish.

The following day Dalila received a call from Barbara at Arriva, promising they would bring a bus to her home specially to take Zak to the prom.

The surprise did not stop there, for Charlie and Barbara came to Newton Leys to meet Zak and tell him the good news in person.

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Dalila said: "Zak has had a very tough year. Not only he is autistic but he has heath problems (type 1 diabetes, epilepsy and ADHD) so you can imagine how happy he was!

“I saw what a genuine and wonderful people they are at Arriva. Charlie told me they do a lot of support work, including supporting people with dementia, and he was ready to help Zak to have a memorable day for his prom.

"He even said that so many Arriva drivers are offering to drive Zak to the prom.”

Dalila wants to publicly thank all Arriva workers in Milton Keynes.

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"Not only do they drive us safe home but they actually go beyond their jobs and help and support our community. They deserve to be mentioned and have a recognition.

“Thank you to Charlie, Barbara, Fernando, Adel and all the bus drivers as well as my amazing Newton Leys community for your support.

"As a mum of an autistic teenager, I feel most of the time isolated and helpless. The support that I received made feel that I am not alone.”

Arriva has a special policy for customers with disabilities and guidance is provided to all employees about the best way in which they can meet the specific needs of each customer according to their particular type of disability.

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They also invite customers with disabilities to put forward any comments and suggestions for improving the company’s policy and the service it provides to them.

You can make your suggestions on the contact form here.

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