Wednesday, March 04, 2015

My Morning Ride - And Back

 Image result for wheel trans winter
An Open Letter to Wheel-Trans,

For those readers who aren't from the fair, but dangerously cold, city of Toronto, you may not know the name of our accessible transit system. It's called 'WheelTrans' and acts as part of the larger transit system here in the city. Where I live, on weekends, I typically use the subway system. For workdays, I need to use Wheel-Trans, as I did today. I was worried about my early morning trip, I arrive at work typically between 6:30 and 7:15, because the news was reporting power outages up in that area. I made a quick call, was assured that the building had power, so I got on the bus.

I knew I was in for trouble as we approached the building. It looked dead. I got off to check and sure enough, there was no power. Now this is a problem for me. We have a little vestibule off which is an elevator and a large set of stairs going up. That space isn't one that used for anything but transit, so it's not heated generously. I'd have to sit there, in that cool to coldish room and wait for Joe to drive up and get me. Not a pleasant thought. One that worries me, given my circulation problems.

The driver, who had already demonstrated the capacity to listen and care by agreeing to the route that I suggested he drive, suggested that he call dispatch to see if he could get me home. I got back on the bus. Started to warm up again, while he talked with the powers that be that govern the dispatch of vehicles. After a few seconds he turned to me, smiled, and said, "I'll take you home now."

Off we went. I arrived home, safe, sound and warm. I knew that the person who owned the voice at the other end of the drivers call had to scramble and work hard to make this work, but he did it. The system is busy, the timing is tight for calls, but when needed, WheelTrans has always stepped up and helped out.

I am very fortunate to live in a city with this service. I am thankful for the amazing drivers, like the one I had today, who care about their passengers. I am even more thankful for dispatchers that are allowed some flexibility. And ultimately I'm thankful for a system with rules that have room for movement, room for creative solutions to the bumps along the way.

Thank you Wheel-Trans.

Deeply.

Thank you.

To the driver I had today - you made the best of a bad situation and never once acted as if I was the problem or that I was the inconvienience. Instead you showed good human and caring - the best attributes of anyone who supports anyone else in an way.

8 comments:

Susan said...

Sigh... Knowing this happened - that someone I care about was treated exactly like they should have been - makes me happy in my heart today... Look out world!

MaLa G said...

Excellent transport service! Are kind people like the driver drawn to such work or does WheelTrans screen for compassion?

Andrea S. said...

So glad to know that you didn't get the kind of person you had when that driver, years ago, left you in the cold. Wish they were ALL like that.

Princeton Posse said...

Three cheers for Wheel-Trans and the excellent drivers!

clairesmum said...

Truly a heart"warm"ing story! It's so great when a system works for the benefit of the customers and can adjust for individual needs and unexpected changes. I hope your work at home day was a good one.

Anonymous said...

This made me smile. :) Stories about good people always do. samm

Maryclare Lambden said...

I also have been driven all the way home when we arrived at my school to find it closed because of a plumbing catastrophe. WheelTrans drivers and dispatchers are consistently excellent at dealing with emergencies.

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit behind on commenting but I read this comment yesterday and I've been thinking about it: 'Are kind people like the driver drawn to such work or does WheelTrans screen for compassion? ' 4 March 08.50
Not wanting to detract from the celebration in your post and the sound actions of the driver. I think most people have kindness and compassion in them and it's systems that bring it out, or bring out unkind responses. I think I'm a kind person but I've worked in regimes where I have done unkind things to fit in with what's required of me as a worker. If the dispatcher put pressure on the driver to get to the next pick up on time, it would have been harder for him to do the right thing. If the dispatcher was under pressure to stick to and fulfil the schedule as planned, it would have been harder for him to do the right thing. If the organisation was trying to cut miles driven per month, it would have been harder. I hear celebrations of Wheel Trans as well as the individuals providing the service to you that day. But I think my main point is, that I believe most people have the capacity for compassion and it's not about being 'drawn to such work' or 'selected' for compassion, it's about organisations that focus on what's important.