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.
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.