A bus driver from Finglas is doing his best to get Dubliners in the festive spirit, whilst also raising money for a charity incredibly close to his own heart.
Ernest Gore is a driver for Go Ahead Ireland and is currently dressing up as Santa Claus whilst on duty with the aim of raising money for Aoibheann’s Pink Tie (APT).
Go Ahead Ireland gave Ernie the permission to drive his bus route donned in festive apparel, with his driver’s hatch covered in festive decorations like tinsel.
Ernie chose the charity for several reasons, but mainly for the support that the charity has shown to his family since his daughter Mia passed away in 2015. Mia was diagnosed at 2 months old with a rare brain tumour, and her treatment went on for five years.
Speaking to Dublin Gazette, Ernest said it was important to him that he could give back to APT after all the help they’ve given his family following Mia’s passing.
“Aoibheann’s Pink Tie has always been in my heart to help, and I wanted to give back something like they’d given to us.
“When Mia passed away, APT had been there for us from day one, so I came up with an idea to dress up as Santy while operating the Go Ahead bus. I asked them if I could do it as a fundraiser, and they got back to me within 24 hours to tell me I could do it while I was out on duty, which was great.
“Every year on Mia’s anniversary APT send out a bouquet of flowers and a thinking of you card, and the same on her birthday in October. Any family that’s going through what we’ve been through, Jimmy [Norman, founder of APT] has been through what we have been through, APT are there to comfort them in any way they can.”
Ernest said that the reaction from the public has been incredible, with donations flooding in for the charity from those who see him on route.
“I’m blown away by people. It took me nearly half an hour to get from Swords Pavilions to Swords Castle last Sunday with the amount of people stopping me and wanting to take pictures.
“I have posters on the bus directing people to the Go Fund Me page as well, and the response has been fantastic. Even the messages on the Go Fund Me page are really really nice, people saying they’re sorry for our loss, and that it’s a great way to say thank you to APT.
“This time of year, it’s very hard – I should be going shopping for 5 kids, but unfortunately im only going shopping for four kids, and it breaks my heart.
“We should be going out buying toys for Mia – when Mia passed away in 2015, we went out that December and still bought toys for her because we couldn’t accept that she was gone, it was a very hard year for us. It’s very difficult – I wouldn’t wish what I’ve been through on my worst enemy.
“Hopefully I’m doing Mia proud now.”
Ernest will be driving the 220, 104, 238, 239, 270 and 17A this week, if you’d like to catch a glimpse of him on his route.
As cash can’t be taken on the bus, a GoFundMe has been set up and anyone interested in donating should visit the Aoibheann’s Pink Tie website here.