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40 years after retiring Taiwan train driver with dementia reports for duty on Dragon Boat Festival

Retired TRA driver asks for leave thinking that he was due to work overtime on Dragon Boat Festival

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Retired TRA driver (center). (Facebook, Taiwan Railway Family photo)

Retired TRA driver (center). (Facebook, Taiwan Railway Family photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A retired Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) driver suffering from dementia believed that he was scheduled to work overtime during the Dragon Boat Festival and dutifully requested leave.

Sunday (June 5), marked the third day of the Dragon Boat Festival holiday and during this period, many TRA workers are scheduled to work overtime to keep the trains running during the long weekend. That day, a TRA employee on the Facebook group Taiwan Railways Family (台鐵家族) posted an image of a retired elderly driver reporting for duty.

The Facebook user stated that just as he was getting off from work, he spotted an elderly driver who had retired from the railway 40 years ago. Accompanied by his son, the man had rushed to the TRA operations center and requested to speak with the deputy director.

As the retired driver had difficulty communicating, his son spoke on his behalf. The son pointed out that his father, who suffers from dementia, suddenly remembered that it was the Dragon Boat Festival holiday and thought that he had forgotten to clock in.

The elderly man wished to ask the deputy director for leave and in Taiwanese said “phái-sè," meaning "sorry." The deputy director feigned "cooperation" with the retired driver's request and produced a fake form for the man to sign.

He pledged that the form would be passed on to the deputy director in charge of shift scheduling. After completing the paperwork to take "leave" the former driver appeared at ease as he left the depot.

The author of the Facebook post wrote that although the elderly driver suffered from dementia, he still remembered that he was a TRA employee and that he needed to ask for leave if he could not come to work for his overtime shift on the Dragon Boat Festival. The current TRA employee felt very moved by the man's gesture: "Perhaps this was the only job he ever had in his life. Even though he has been retired for 40 years, it was deep in his memory and he is still proud of this job."

40 years after retiring Taiwan train driver with dementia reports for duty on Dragon Boat Festival
Elderly retired TRA driver (center) requests leave. (Facebook, Taiwan Railyways Family photo)