“HE’S an absolute credit to himself, his family and the school.” Those are the proud words of De La Salle Year Head Nuala McCabe as she beams with pride when asked about her sixth form pupil Barry O’Connor.
Last week Barry was driving himself and a few friends to school when he came across a woman in distress on the street. She had fallen in the Riverdale area and had badly injured her face. The quick thinking young man pulled over and ran to offer his assistance, and then after dropping his classmates off to school, proceeded to bring the woman to the Royal Victoria Hospital to ensure she was okay.
Speaking to the Andersonstown News the modest Poleglass teenager said: “I just did what anyone would have done.
“I haven’t long passed my driving test and myself and a few of my classmates were driving to school at around 8.50am last Tuesday.
“I saw the lady trip up and hit her face. I ran over to her and me and another fella helped her up. The blood was pouring from her face, so I ran over to the shop and got her a bottle of water and some tissues.
“I asked her if she needed brought anywhere. She said she was going to go to the hospital so I offered to take her.
“I only passed my test there about a month ago so it was a bit daunting trying to navigate my way around the hospital car park and the Grosvenor Road was a bit scary.
“But I got her into the emergency department. I think the lady ended up with a fractured wrist and a broken nose, but I don’t think I did anything special, helping someone in distress was just the right thing to do.”
Barry’s Year Head Nuala McCabe said: “We are all so proud of Barry, he has really come out of himself in terms of maturity this past wee while since he passed his driving test.
“He’s now responsible for getting his mates to school on time as well as himself.
“He’s really focused on his studies at the moment, he’s doing History, Politics and Geography. He’s a very conscientious young man so it’s no surprise to us that he did this. We are all so proud of him, he’s an absolute credit to himself, his family and the school.”
After his heroic deed, Barry was thrilled to receive a thank you card from the injured woman’s daughter.
It read: “This is just a very small token to thank you for helping my mother yesterday when she fell in Riverdale.
“You went well above what could be expected of any young person on their way to school. I’m only sorry I didn’t get to meet you to thank you in person.
“I’m sure your family are extremely proud of you, you really are a credit to them. If there were more young people about with the same caliber of character we’d be flying!!”
Mrs McCabe added: “Barry is a bit embarrassed by all the fuss but we are all so proud of him, we think he deserves the recognition.
“He has just picked up an application for Head Boy. There are six different positions within the leadership team in the school, he will go to interview and fingers crossed he will do well. I think he has proven that he definitely has great leadership qualities.”