When an optometry student couldn’t pay for his train ticket, a kind stranger stepped in and ended up helping him start his career at an opticians in Syston.

Train journey

Vaishal Dave was on a train from Leicester to Birmingham New Street when he realised he’d forgotten his wallet. The third-year optometry student began to panic as the conductor approached. When he was asked to get off the next stop, a stranger got up and bought his £17 train ticket.

Vaishal said: ‘I felt very relieved and grateful. I went over to say thank you and we started talking. He asked where I was going and I told him I was an optometry student on my way to Aston University. Then he told me what he did and I couldn’t believe it.’

Making contacts

The stranger was Nimesh Popat, then a divisional relationship manager at Specsavers. After talking for the 50-minute journey, the pair swapped numbers and kept in touch.

Nimesh later became Specsavers’ director of professional recruitment and retention. Meanwhile, his wife, Hina, had just become joint venture partner for Specsavers in Syston, Leicestershire, and was looking for a resident optometrist. Nimesh contacted Vaishal.

Vaishal said: ‘I had an interview and when Hina offered me the position I didn’t think twice – I took it!’ 

A word from Nimesh

Nimesh said: ‘I was brought up to think that life is about giving, not just taking, so I help people when I can. When I saw that Vaishal was going to be kicked off the train, I thought that paying for his ticket was the right thing to do. I thought it could be my son in that situation in a few years’ time.

‘I get a really good buzz out of helping people, and that’s why I do the role that I do,’ continues Nimesh. ‘I get to support our partners, build our brand, increase our graduate numbers, find more audiologists and optometrists and give them the training and development they need. Vaishal is an incredibly enthusiastic and loyal young man who’d like to become a partner.’

Settling in at Syston

Now working as a fully-fledged optometrist at the new Specsavers store in Syston, Vaishal feels he has fallen into good hands. ‘The Syston team is fantastic – everyone’s so helpful and supportive and I couldn’t ask for a better place to be as a newly-qualified optometrist,’ says Vaishal.

‘Nimesh and Hina are two wonderful individuals from who I’ve learnt that kindness and belief open doors for any opportunity. I’ll always be grateful for that simple act of kindness shown by Nimesh on the train a couple of years ago.’

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