Former Hartlepool taxi driver transforms his life after ‘traumatic’ crash

A former Hartlepool taxi driver has never looked back after deciding to take a leap of faith and pursue a completely different career.

By Pamela Bilalova
Friday, 1st October 2021, 4:45 am

Back in 2017, Alec Gray, 49, was involved in a crash in the taxi he owned on the Coast Road, north of Hartlepool.

But the married father of two who lives in the Bishop Cuthbert area of Hartlepool has said the “traumatic” incident has changed his destiny and he is now having “the greatest time” of his life.

The crash led Alec to rethink his career and he decided to start a job where he could help others.

Alec Gray speaking in Hartlepool last week.

Remembering the fateful event, Alec said: “It was my first day back at work after a holiday when someone crashed into me.

"As a self-employed taxi driver, I was always in constant fear of something happening to the vehicle that would put me off the road.

“Garage repair bills would often devastate the income that we had to live on - it became a case of living in fear of what was literally waiting around the next corner.”

Alec tuned into Paul “Goffy” Gough’s Goffy at the Weekend show on BBC Radio Tees on his way back home and hearing the story of a Darlington listener who had successfully changed his life late in life motivated him to do the same.

“As I drove back home through the devastation of what had just happened it really planted the seeds for me and it was the positive I really needed to hear at that very moment,’’ said Alec.

Soon he got a job as a housing support worker with a Middlesbrough organisation called Humankind before completing a Level 2 and Level 3 Diploma in counselling at Hartlepool College of Further Education.

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He then successfully applied for a job as an advocate at Voiceabilty, based in Sunderland, supporting people living in care homes who were struggling and vulnerable.

Alec’s next job move took him to Hartlepool & Stockton Health where he became the first male social prescribing link worker in Hartlepool.

He added: “Those stressful days of being in my taxi are behind me now and it gave me great pride to be the speaker at the Stags Men’s Support Group. Tthe feedback was incredible.

"It has been some journey, a few sleepless nights but the job satisfaction I gain from helping others is on another level now.

“The added bonus is that I now get to spend much more quality time with my lovely wife Rebecca and fantastic children Cassie, who is 15, and son Max, 13, who both attend High Tunstall College of Science.

“That traumatic taxi crash on the Coast Road in the summer of 2017 certainly changed my destiny and now aged 49 I am having the greatest time of my life.

“Going to bed at night I reflect on how I have changed the mindsets of people that I visit each day and the positive effects on their close loved ones and friends. It gives me an unbelievable feeling of pride."

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