The Royal Mail has taken a less than grateful attitude towards a Bristol man who prevented a runaway post van "careering over a busy main road", as the Times puts it.
Dad of two and artist Robert Moore, 63, spotted the Transit rolling backwards after the driver forgot to apply the handbrake, in an incident last September. He ran after the vehicle and opened the driver's door but couldn't reach the brake. He suffered several injuries, including to his legs which were scraped along the road, but finally managed to help bring the van to a halt.
However, when Moore subsequently wrote to Royal Mail to see if he was "entitled to a reward or compensation", the company replied to his solicitors: “We cannot be held responsible for your client's injuries in choosing to stop a moving van without considering the personal consequences. We assume your client is of average intelligence and as such he must have known that what he was attempting to do was fraught with great danger, with the real possibility of personal injury.
“With that real threat apparent he should never have attempted to do what he did and while his actions may have been brave, they should not have been at the expense of his own safety. Had your client not attempted to stop the van it would have continued without posing any danger or threat to your client. That being the case, no injury could have been sustained.
“Of course it is commendable what your client did; however, Royal Mail would never ask a member of the public to risk their own safety in the manner above, and, while unfortunate, your client does appear to be the author of his own misfortune. We trust common sense will prevail here and you will simply advise in due course that your client's claim is withdrawn.”
Cue the obligatory "astonishment" from Mr Moore, who astonished: “There were children and elderly people around - what was I supposed to do, let the kids get killed? I opened the door, but the motion made me fall over, which shoved my knees into my chest, cracked my rib and grazed my knees. The driver came down - he was a young guy - and said, 'Did I forget to put the hand brake on?'.
"The chap said he was very sorry. I was in such agony. I went to the doctor as soon as I could get an appointment and he agreed I had a cracked rib. I've still got scars on my knees. I like to walk but it hurts. When I saw the letter I just laughed. I didn't believe it.”
A suitably ashamed Royal Mail said yesterday: “We would like to apologise to Mr Moore for the handling of this case and we are discussing the matter with him and his legal representatives.” ®