The Toronto Transit Commission has been having a tough few weeks. First this, um, caffeine-challenged fellow fell asleep on the job … literally.
Then, a video of a bus driver who left his vehicle idling — and passengers fuming — while he ran into a coffee shop for an extended break was posted on YouTube.
After a public outcry over these service slips, TTC staffers struck back … threatening to post their own pics online … of passengers putting feet on seats, talking loudly on phones, or otherwise behaving rudely.
It was starting to get ugly.
Even before all this brouhaha (don’t you just love that word? It’s right up there with “shenanigans” … but I digress), I’d been trying to make a point of saying hello and/or thank you to the driver each day. So, in an extended gesture of goodwill to these guys (and gals) who put up with a lot of crud from the general public each day (I know I wouldn’t last a day doing it), I stepped things up a notch.
Don’t worry, no hugging or high-fives took place, I simply smiled a little brighter, added an occasional “Have a good day!” or “Take care!” and, for the most part, they seemed to really appreciate it.
I was happy I’d been making the extra effort when I read this today — it was a story in my local paper that painted a more sympathetic picture of George Robitaille (aka Rip Van Ticket-Collector Winkle, above):
“… this isn’t the first time George Robitaille has been recognized while wearing TTC colours. In 1995, he was honoured for saving a disabled man’s life, according to a Toronto Sun article.
“A former Wheel-Trans driver, Robitaille was sent to pick up a passenger who had a rare lung disease and muscle disorder. Robitaille found the man collapsed on the floor in his home, barely conscious after falling and hitting his head. ‘The door was unlocked, but I would have broken it down if I had to,’ Robitaille said at the time.
“He lifted the man into an upright position and called for an ambulance. The passenger, Brian Mitchell, later said he would have died if Robitaille hadn’t helped him.”
P.S. I was so impressed with the Olympic Opening Ceremonies last night. Especially this Leonard Cohen song from Alberta’s k.d. lang. Enjoy!