Tag Archives: TTC

Day 739: Falling for transit

So, I came across this story today and it really hit home (no pun intended).

Ever since I had a bad fall last September on a city street and dislocated and broke my wrist, I have been very nervous walking down the stairs at the subway.

Just like the man in this story, I’d been rushing … to catch a bus to meet my husband for dinner to celebrate our wedding anniversary, as it happens.

I still can’t remember if I tripped on the streetcar tracks, or was jostled by hordes of Toronto Blue Jays fans (I still blame the Jays), but I came crashing to earth as if in slow motion and immediately knew something was wrong with my arm.

I had my own guardian angel that day. A lady in white who appeared out of nowhere and asked if I’d like her to go inside the restaurant I sat in front of to ask for some ice.

A passing police officer also helped me, along with a coworker who happened by and wondered why I was on the ground talking to a policeman. He said he didn’t think I’d had enough time to leave the office and tie one on at the bar. 🙂

Anywayyyys, enough about me.

The reason I mention that is because reading the story below about Yves Allard — who fell down the stairs at Toronto’s Bathurst station and was helped by a Good Samaritan —  reminded me of those lovely people who helped me that day.

I really hope I’ll jump in and help too, if I’m needed. I know now how much simple concern and kindness can mean so much when you’re disoriented and hurt and feeling vulnerable.

I’m going to share this story on social media and I hope anyone reading this does so too, the original link is HERE… to help Yves find the “Good Samaritan” so he can thank him.

Here’s an excerpt of his story:

Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 9.45.08 PM.png

by Amara McLaughlin, CP24.com

A Toronto resident is searching for a “Good Samaritan” who called 911 after he tumbled down a TTC staircase while rushing to an appointment on Saturday afternoon, sustaining a head injury.

Yves Allard fell down a flight of stairs in Bathurst Station around 4 p.m. while he was making his way to the subway platform. … A man standing on the platform rushed to his aid until emergency crews arrived.

“He kept my conscious so once in a while he would tap my face to make sure I didn’t pass out,” Allard said.

He was rushed to hospital where he was treated for a deep gash wound on the back of his head, receiving eight staples. … Now he wants to thank the stranger in person and has started an online search, posting to social media “letting my guardian angel know I’m okay and that he saved my life.”

The “Good Samaritan” is described as a shorter man, believed to be in his late 20s or early 30s, with dark hair.

“I don’t know how to reach him or too much about him … [but] all I want is to thank this man from the bottom of my heart for helping me through a severe trauma,” Allard wrote in his online post.

Full story here.


Song for the day:

Love the message of this song, and the performer, Gregory Porter, who I was fortunate enough to see in concert at The Toronto Jazz Festival last summer, and meet him by accident in the CBC Building that same day! It gave me the chance to tell him how much I love his music. I NEVER do things like that if I spot a celebrity… but he was so gracious, he made me glad I did.


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Day 733: TTC kindness

I heard about this story on CBC radio this morning and had to share the original FB post that sparked the story:


I sincerely hope I would jump in and try to help if anything like this ever happens to me.

After all, I also don’t leave the house without Advil. 🙂


Song of the day for your listening pleasure:

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Day 723: Strangers on a train


Back on Christmas Eve, I took the subway home and the driver came over the loudspeaker in a super cheery voice and said, “Hi, I’m Mike. I’m a Pisces and enjoy long walks on the beach. This is the happiest train on the Bloor-Danforth Line and I can prove it. Look around. People are smiling.”

And they were at that point. Even me.

At the time I thought “Mike” was just sharing some holiday joy. Little did I know that this driver is on a mission to lift the spirits of the complete strangers riding his train. And that he was prompted to do so by a tragic event that happened on one of his shifts.

I learned all this when a friend rode his train, heard his greeting and was so moved by it that she posted about it on FB along with a link to this CBC story about the driver, Michael Sage. (And I am SO glad she did. Thanks, Susan!)

Here’s an excerpt:

It’s hard to imagine how anyone who spends his days driving through long, dark tunnels would be cheery. It’s even harder if that person is a TTC driver who’s had the experience of someone being killed by running in front of his moving train.

But that’s Michael Sage – or the Smooth Operator, as many in Toronto know him. If you’ve ever ridden the Bloor-Danforth line, there’s a good chance you’ve heard him.

“Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, this is Michael, your Smooth Operator speaking,” is a typical greeting to passengers. “I’m a Pisces, I enjoy long walks on the beach and I am my mother’s favourite child.”

Sage says he invented the character as a way of coping with the tragedy on the tracks that occurred during a shift one Sunday last April.

Sage was working the afternoon shift when, out of nowhere, he spotted a young man in the tunnel running toward his train.

By the time he realized what was happening, it was too late.

“It was the worst day of my life,” Sage recalls.

But after a couple of weeks off of work, he decided he would feel better doing his job than being at home.

That’s when “Michael the Smooth Operator” was born.

“It was hard when I first came back so I found using a little bit of humour made it easier to get through the days,” he says. “Sometimes I tell jokes, sometimes I reveal embarrassing moments.”

But what began as a way of trying to ease his own pain turned out to put a smile on customers’ faces, as well.

“It makes me feel like I’m contributing something really positive in life,” Sage says. “And I think that’s what we all want.”

Here’s the rest.

I’m thinking Mr. Sage is aptly named. I’ve been keeping him in mind every time I take the subway now. It’s helped me slow down and be more aware of those around me instead of rocketing into the subway car like I’m on The Amazing Race.

The other day I even stopped, took my earbuds out and listened to a busker playing the worst violin solo I’ve ever heard. But he was giving it his all so I gave him a thumbs up and added to the tips in his open case.

Maybe I should’ve said, “Hi, I’m Deb. I’m an Aquarius and like long walks on the beach….” 🙂

It was Mozart’s birthday the other day, so here’s a Mozart Adele mashup to celebrate!

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Day 660: One good deed deserves another

um, his bus was a more modern version....

Wanted to share a story with you I heard today from a friend of mine. He told me the story, not to point out his own good deed but because he thought it was funny. And it is. But his kind gesture also warmed my heart and I hope it will yours, too.

My friend, Dave, was on the bus when he looked out the window and saw an elderly man struggling with a broken wheel on his pull-along grocery cart (the kind you can fold up).

Even though he was nowhere near his destination (and bus fare is currently $3 here in Toronto), he hopped off the bus so he could help the man move his cart.

When Dave offered his help to the man, however, the man started to laugh. “Oh, this old thing pops off all the time,” he said, picking up the wheel and popping it back into place.

He thanked my friend though, and was touched that he got off the bus just to help him.

As a sign that one good turn can often lead to another, the bus driver (who had noticed why my friend got off the bus), waited for a bit at the next stop until Dave could run and get back on. Not only that, the driver let him on without having to pay another fare. Nice, huh?

And my good deed today? I sent off a postcard to a complete stranger. A little girl undergoing cancer treatments in the U.S. who I heard (via another friend) needed cheering up. I sent her some knock-knock jokes… always a classic I figured.

P.S. Song of the day: An original written and sung by my friend, Dave, himself. Enjoy!

P.P.S. Pic from HERE.

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Day 657: Snow day deeds

I almost got a closer shot, but the little guy was camera shy. 🙂

Snow has been blowing these past few days here — thankfully, not quite Snowmaggedon … yet.

I observed a lovely gesture on the streetcar today that I thought I’d share. It is freeeeezing — so cold even the ice sculptures are shivering — so any wait outside for the bus or streetcar feels like an eternity.

Our car was about to shut the doors and move on when a young guy carrying a skateboard (not generally considered a winter sport, but there you go) hopped on and asked the driver to wait. “There’s someone running to catch you,” he explained.

Now, I’ve raced to catch a streetcar (or bus) many times and sometimes the driver is kind enough to wait but other times, I get right up to the door out of breath and the driver zooms off, cackling an evil laugh (okay, I made that last part up).

But  no, this driver nodded and waited the few seconds it took for running guy to reach the door and huff-and-puff his way onto the car.

And me? Just before I got on the streetcar, I’d been in a store and tried on a bunch of different pairs of snowboots in different aisles. And instead of just leaving the ones I didn’t want where they were (for the store clerk to put them back), I walked around and returned them to where I found them. At least I hope that was a good thing …..

P.S. Song for the day. The legendary Etta James who passed away today from leukemia at 73. May she rest in peace.


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Day 602: Stand-up gal

This picture has nothing to do with good deeds, I just thought it was cool. (Photo: BruceK via torontoist.com)

Is it a good deed to let someone else offer a stranger a helping hand? I ask that question because I sort of had a good-deed standoff with a fellow passenger on the subway today.

I boarded a practically empty train and sat across from a young woman wearing shorts and flip-flops.

Then, a white-haired Asian lady got on and took halting steps toward the middle of the car. Even before the train started moving again, she looked as though she was losing her balance. She wore enormous white running shoes and one of those canes with a three-legged base (for more stability, I guess) but she was very stooped over and wobbled with every step.

When it looked as though she was headed for a seat, both I and the flip-flop girl partially stood up at the same time and reached out to lend the lady a hand, but seeing that I was too far away to really help, I sat back down in my seat.

As it turned out, the feisty old gal waved off help from the young woman and instead stood her ground in the middle of the car, clutching the subway pole with one hand and her cane with the other. (While Ms. Flip-Flop and I kept a close eye on her.)

She might have been shaky of frame, but certainly not of spirit….

P.S. A lovely a cappella song. Enjoy!

P.P.S. Video from HERE & Toronto harbour photo from HERE.

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Day 536: Lullaby on Broadview

George Robitaille expands his job description to "fly catcher."

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!


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