Paris Barnett of Euclid is commended as the RTA operator of month in December

On December 8, 2010, Paratransit driver Paris Barnett, 34 of Euclid, faced an unusual situation.  He was scheduled to pick up Ms. Sweeny, a diabetic passenger, at East 116th Street to take her to a church dinner; however, on the ride there, she began to feel lightheaded and eventually became weak. 

Acting quickly, he gave her some water and tried to figure out how to get her some food.  Due to the snowy conditions, the roads were all gridlocked so they were forced to wait in traffic.  Ultimately, traffic allowed for Paris to get the passenger to a local store around East 55th Street where he purchased soda, chicken, and potato chips.

All the while, Paris remained calm and collected.  When helping Ms. Sweeny, Paris didn’t feel like he was being heroic, he was simply doing his job. 

“I’ve had close friends and family who were diabetics.  They taught me at an early age how to help them if ever a situation were to arise where they were without their medication.  One of the first things is not to panic,” said Barnett. 

Paris knew that by giving the woman a mixture of salty and sweet food or beverage, it would help bring up her sugar levels. 

Barnett sat by her side while she ate and drank to make sure she was getting better.  “I didn’t want her to pass out or go into shock while on the coach.  With the weather and traffic as bad as they were that night, emergency services never would have made it to her in time nor could I have made it to a hospital,” stated Paris.

All the while, Barnett was on the phone with RTA letting them know how Ms. Sweeny was doing.  By this point, due to continued snow and gridlock, three hours had passed from the time that he had picked her up. With her church dinner already over, Paris brought her back home safely.

RTA honored Paris Barnett for his actions as ‘Operator of the Month’ because he did go above and beyond his job, something RTA found out after Ms. Sweeny wrote a complimentary letter about Barnett, who she called ‘a fantastic young man!’

“I attribute much of what happened that night to the Lord Almighty and the training I received from the Training Department of GCRTA,” said Barnett. 

Again, RTA says thank you to Paris Barnett for his service to Ms. Sweeny and all of his customers as part of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority paratransit group.

Christopher Lewis

Media Relations/ Marketin Intern at the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

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Volume 2, Issue 2, Posted 7:25 PM, 04.13.2011