'Am I the world's smallest double-decker driver?'

At 4ft 6in tall, Frank Hachem believes he could be the world's smallest double-decker bus driver.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 9th November 2017, 4:15 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 3:29 am
Frank Hachem has been driving Stagecoach buses for eight months
Frank Hachem has been driving Stagecoach buses for eight months

Frank is so convinced he’s applied to Guinness World Records and is eagerly waiting for confirmation having been told his claim is being processed.

Frank, 55, from Havant, works for Stagecoach and is based at Chichester Bus Station, getting behind the wheel of all sizes of bus.

Driving his favoured double-deckers, his daily 700 route takes him to Bognor Regis, West Wittering, Selsey and Littlehampton along the coast.

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Frank Hachem has been driving Stagecoach buses for eight months

Frank said: “When I first asked about the job I said to the manager ‘I’m 4ft 6in so I don’t know if I can even reach the pedals’.

He said ‘Frank, apply for the job and if you pass the test we will put you through the training and work something out'.

“He treated me like a human being, he said even if you cannot drive all of them I will help you, but really I am able to drive all of them.”

Frank has been in the job now for eight months, and after admitting some early nerves he says he loves travelling around and meeting new people.

Frank, 55, wants to inspire other disabled people

He faces no physical barrier to driving the buses, he simply lowers the seat and brings the steering wheel near him and off he goes.

Because of his size he is registered disabled, but he says he wants to show that disability is no barrier to finding work and doing something you enjoy.

"I have never thought of myself as a small person. I am always thinking I am normal, I have to do what other people do," he said.

"Driving a double-decker, that's a challenge for a lot of people, but not for me.

Frank Hachem drivers the 700 around the coast

"I like challenges and life is the biggest challenge and I'm living my life properly.

He said: "I want to show disabled people that they shouldn't stop somewhere and say 'I can't do that, I can't do that'."

Originally from Iraq, Frank moved to the UK in 1982 at the age of 20, and after studying in Oxford he moved down to the south in 1987, living in Havant for the last 12 years.

He has been married for 14 years and has two young daughters.

Frank next to his favoured double-decker

“One, she’s ten and she’s taller than me now, Frank said.

“But my little one who is five has my genes, it broke my heart when we found out.

“It is called dwarfism but I don’t like to label it, we are all human beings the same and my daughter is very smart.

“I'm trying to show her that even though she's small she can do anything that she wants."

Frank has had various jobs but he says he finally feels like he's found his calling.

He says he actually finds driving the smaller buses harder than the biggest in the fleet.

He's already become well-known to his passengers

In only eight months he's already become a favourite amongst bus-users.

"All my passengers they say 'Frank, Frank', they all know my name. My passengers and my colleagues are so good you know," he said.

"I'm a very friendly person, I love people and I like to give something back to the community."

Frank has thanked his Stagecoach manager Colin Stratford and his staff and says has been told by Guinness World Records his application is being processed and he will be contacted soon.