8:20 am on a sluggish, overcast Tuesday, and you just want to make your miserable-ass way to your miserable-ass work day. Suddenly, the announcement… the train is being stopped due to an onboard assistance alarm being activated. The majority of the passengers grunt in disgust, rolls their eyes, etc. and the morning has already been soured for them.
I’d witnessed this happening at least once every other day. What becomes an interesting yet unwelcome scenario is when the passenger who needs assistance is you. Such was the case over three weeks ago on my way to work.
It was a regular day. I normally board at the southernmost car, leaning myself against the door nook at the (front?) (?) (back) (?) of the train. Bent over and engrossed in my Stephen King novel, I look up after a while and suddenly feel very hot and flustered. I loosen my scarf, the world begins to spin, and before I know it, I open my eyes to see several strangers peering down at me, asking if I’m okay, and helping me up off the floor. They make way and walk me to a seat, all while the passenger alarm is ringing, and the train suddenly halts. Davisville station. Four stops from home. A nice lady in a TTC uniform, the driver, comes up to me and asks what happened. I’m mopping the sweat off my forehead with my scarf. She tells me it’s okay to feel ill, and don’t be embarrassed, because it could happen to anybody. I’m shocked and disoriented, because it’s happened to ME. I actually fainted for the first time in my life (okay, the second time, if you count that time in grade 8 when it was cool to make someone push your throat up against the wall and make you faint – yes, it works).
A very kind lady offers to come outside and sit with me until the medics and police can assess the situation. A policeman comes very swiftly, takes my ID, and asks me a series of questions, all the while very pleasant and accommodating. Then came the paramedics, who pricked my finger for a blood sample and took my blood pressure, which turned out to be low. They suggested I go to a doctor, and told me an ambulance was waiting should I decide to take it. I declined, fearing it a) might be an extra cost I didn’t wish to handle and b) was just too much melodrama for a mere fainting incident. After taking more information, the paramedics let me back onto the train, where I headed back home immediately, emailed my boss of said incident, and headed straight to emergency with my family. Long story short, after five hours of testing and general waiting, I was declared fine and allowed to leave.
Why I am writing this story today is because I was so touched and overwhelmed to have been treated with such kindness – by fellow passengers, TTC staff, the police, and the medics. I’ll admit, I was one of those jerks who was the first to roll her eyes at any delay. Now, I’m grateful for the time that is taken to ensure the safety of every passenger onboard.
I was scared to “TTC it” for a few days after but, ever since, I ride all the way to Finch and back south just to make sure I get a seat. Doesn’t hurt to be cautious.