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Quick-thinking TTC worker saves life of man in distress

Faiza Amin | posted Thursday, Apr 27th, 2017

Tense moments at Dundas subway station forced a suspension of service both ways on Wednesday morning, when a man reportedly jumped onto the track. Dozens of witnesses were on the northbound platform around 10:30 a.m. when the incident occurred, many praising a quick-thinking TTC employee who sprang into action.

The TTC tells CityNews a customer entered the station and immediately walked onto the northbound tracks. Within minutes, a station collector rushed to his side.

“He just kept talking to him, and said ‘breathe in breath out’ and ‘look me in my eye,’” said eyewitness Jeffrey Ribeiro. “Then he was like, ‘now say I am strong’, then he had everybody on the platform say it with him.”

Ribeiro captured the interaction between the two men in a touching video he later posted online. The footage appears to show the station collector seated on the platform comforting a man who was firmly holding onto him, while standing on the track.

“When he came up off the platform and came towards the TTC worker, the TTC worker gave him a great big hug,” Ribeiro recalls. “He’s like ‘where’s your cellphone, let me put my number in it.’”

The employee, who’s been with the transit system for 23 years, is being praised for how he handled and de-escalated the tense situation, hugging, comforting and befriending the man. The employee stayed with him even after emergency personnel arrived, spending over half an hour with him.

“The biggest positive action that we saw today was my employee going above and beyond his training and staying there with the customer to ensure he was safe, and everyone else was safe,” said Ellen Stassen, Group Station Manager with the TTC.

His colleagues also stepped in, cutting the power and suspending subway service in both directions.

With the TTC seeing two dozen suicides attempts and 12 deaths annually, employees are trained to look for any sign of distress. In all incidents, standard procedures will see trauma counseling offered to those workers.

Following the incident, the TTC worker went back to work, and finished his shift.

“This is the best ideal story that we can present and commend him for not only an act of safety, but an act of compassion, customer service,” said Stassen. “It goes beyond one area of recognition, and it speaks volumes of his colleagues as well.”

Social media posts have been pouring in, with those who witnessed the moment, calling for the employee to get recognition, not only from the TTC, but the city.

“People like this need to be recognized, and the TTC needs to recognize him for what he did,” said Ribeiro.


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