'Outstanding compassion': OC Transpo drivers honoured for heroic acts

_ (Via City of Ottawa) _ For the past 27 years, local emergency services have joined OC Transpo’s Transecure Committee to recognize OC Transpo employees who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to help those in need. This recognition is part of the Transecure Program, which is a community watch program on wheels. These employees have demonstrated the ability to act quickly in serious – and sometimes life-threatening – situations, and have shown outstanding compassion and concern for Ottawa residents.


At this year’s Transecure Awards Ceremony, 16 OC Transpo employees were honoured for their acts of bravery and kindness throughout 2016:


On January 16, Bus Operator Kien was travelling westbound on Route 96 shortly after midnight when he observed a female customer on the bus who appeared underdressed for the cold weather. He also noticed that she seemed disoriented and anxious. Kien asked if everything was okay and she indicated that she was hungry and did not wish to return home. Kien proceeded to call the Transit Operations Control Centre and special constables were dispatched to meet his bus near the end of his route. While waiting for them to arrive, Kien gave her his lunch and helped to keep her calm. After the special constables arrived, they were able to find the customer a safe and secure women’s shelter and transported her there.


On February 2, Bus Operator Vishal was stopped at Innes and Orient Park during a morning trip. A child, who was scared and alone, was handed to Vishal by an unknown person at the bus stop. Vishal, realizing the child was alone, kept the child calm, safe and warm on the bus and called the Transit Operations Control Centre for assistance. Special constables and the Ottawa Police Service arrived a short time later. It was then confirmed that since the school bus had already left, the child was indeed unaccompanied, so with special constables onboard the bus, Vishal brought the child to school.


On February 8, Bus Operator Jean-Francois was on his afternoon shift when he noticed what appeared to be an unconscious elderly female in the bus shelter at St. Laurent and Brittany. Realizing the potential severity of the situation, Jean-Francois called the Transit Operations Control Centre so that paramedics could be immediately dispatched. Upon arriving on the scene, paramedics confirmed that the woman’s vital signs were absent and began emergency procedures. Paramedics were able to revive her and bring her to the Montfort Hospital. Jean-Francois’s keen observation and quick action no doubt contributed to helping save this person’s life.


On March 15, Bus Operator Stephen found a purse that had been left onboard his bus that contained a substantial amount of cash. He immediately called the Transit Operations Control Centre who dispatched special constables to pick-up the purse and ensure the safety of its content. The special constables were able to identify the rightful owners and return the content to them – more than $10,000 in cash. Operator Stephen displayed a great degree of integrity and honesty in ensuring the lost cash was safely returned to the rightful owners.


In the early morning hours of April 13, Operator Dan noticed a woman who was sitting alone at a bus stop, visibly upset and underdressed for the weather. Dan pulled over and asked her if she was okay. After some hesitation, she eventually boarded the bus and said that she was assaulted by her boyfriend. Dan immediately contacted the Transit Operations Control Centre, who dispatched special constables and the Ottawa Police Service to the scene. Before their arrival, Dan politely asked other passengers on the bus to move to the back of the vehicle to give the woman some privacy. He provided the woman with a warm shelter and comfort until special constables and the Ottawa Police Service arrived. Thanks to Dan’s keen observation and courteous instincts, the woman was able to escape an abusive relationship and was provided with a safe shelter until the appropriate authorities arrived.

Bruce, Thomas, Trevor and Yan

On the evening of May 17, Operators Bruce, Thomas and Trevor and Fleet Maintenance Supervisor Yan noticed an operator in distress outside of OC Transpo’s main building at 1500 St. Laurent Blvd. They immediately conducted an assessment of their colleague’s condition. It became evident that he required medical attention. Without hesitating, the men began performing chest compressions and called 9-1-1 for assistance. They continued to take turns performing CPR until paramedics arrived on the scene a few minutes later. Upon arrival, the Ottawa Police Service and a special constable continued applying chest compressions while paramedics prepared the defibrillator. It was these actions that restored the operator’s pulse. Thanks to Bruce, Thomas, Trevor and Yan’s quick thinking, their colleague was revived and taken to the hospital for further treatment. The paramedics at the scene and the doctor at the hospital confirmed that the actions of these men were the reason the operator survived.


On the evening of June 11, Bus Operator Kert was contacted by OC Transpo’s Control Centre as they were searching for several robbery suspects who were reported to have possibly boarded a bus. Based on the detailed description provided over the broadcast, Kert was able to identify the suspects in question, who were onboard his bus. Faced with a potentially dangerous situation, he remained calm and quietly contacted Control using his radio. He then pulled the bus over and calmly announced to the passengers onboard that they were running ahead of schedule, needed to stop, and that they would resume their route shortly. The Ottawa Police Service arrived shortly thereafter and completed a search of the bus, leading to the arrest of the men, who were then taken into police custody. Thanks to Kert’s quick and strategic thinking, these robbery suspects were held accountable for their crime and nobody was injured in the process.


In the early morning of July 7, Bus Operator Philip observed an elderly woman who appeared to be disoriented and lost, wearing minimal clothing, without any shoes on and walking alone. He immediately circled back to her location and asked if she required any assistance, only to discover that she was unable to communicate with him. Philip helped the woman onto his bus, provided her with a safe shelter, and placed a call to the Transit Operations Control Centre for further assistance. He continued to take care of the woman and stayed with her until the Ottawa Police Service arrived, and her identification and address were confirmed. Upon returning the woman home, her son informed police that his mother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and had wandered away. As a result of Philip’s keen sense of observation and caring nature, this woman in need was quickly helped and safely returned home to her grateful family.


On the morning of August 8, Bus Operator Phillip was traveling down Scott Street when he observed a young boy running in the middle of the bus lane, on the opposite side of the road, as vehicles manoeuvred around him. Phillip pulled the bus over, informed his passengers of the situation, and asked them to stay onboard. Without hesitation, he approached the boy and managed to get him safely to the side of the road. The boy appeared to be lost, was noticeably frightened, had no shoes on, and could not communicate. At this point, Phillip was able to flag down another bus and asked the other operator to call the Transit Operations Control Centre and Ottawa Police Service. He then carried the child to the bus for shelter, where he and other passengers comforted him as they waited for help to arrive. Shortly after, the boy’s mother arrived and boarded the bus in a panic. She explained that her child is autistic, he is her entire world, and she was worried that she had lost him forever. Thanks to Phillip’s quick thinking and actions, the young boy was removed from an extremely dangerous situation in the middle of a busy roadway, and reunited with his mother.


On the afternoon of September 6, Bus Operator Mozafar was serving the final stop along his route when he realized that a customer had not disembarked the bus. He walked toward the back of the bus and noticed a woman who appeared to be unconscious. After several attempts to communicate with the unresponsive customer, Mozafar realized he was facing what could be a potentially serious situation. He quickly returned to the front of the bus and contacted the Transit Operations Control Centre to dispatch special constables and paramedics to the scene. Upon arrival, paramedics rushed the woman to the hospital, where she immediately received treatment. After she regained consciousness, she admitted that she had ingested a large number of sleeping pills in an attempt to take her own life. Thanks to Mozafar’s good judgement and quick actions, the transit customer was able to receive the care and help she needed.


In the early morning hours of October 17, Para Transpo Operator Erik was driving along Woodroffe Avenue when he came across a three-car collision in the bus lane. He immediately stopped and pulled over his bus to report the incident and to see whether anyone was injured or required assistance. Upon speaking with drivers and passengers involved in the incident, one of the women said that she was experiencing chest pains. Taking action, Erik immediately contacted 9-1-1. Once paramedics arrived at the scene, the woman was taken to the hospital and treated for her injuries. As a result of Erik’s quick response in a critical situation, everyone involved in the collision received the immediate attention, treatment and care they required.


A little before 7 a.m. on November 20, Bus Operator Frank noticed a young woman boarding his bus wearing only flip flops on her bare feet. It was a cold and brisk Sunday morning, the forecast called for 15 to 25 centimetres of snow and a winter storm had already begun. Frank asked if she was okay and if there was anything he could do to help. After some hesitation, the woman revealed that she had had an argument with her partner and had been kicked out of her home. She didn’t have enough time to get properly dressed and was forced to walk a long distance to the bus station, not knowing what to do next. Frank placed a call to the Special Constable Unit for further assistance, and kept her company on the warm bus until special constables arrived on the scene. The woman was then safely escorted to a family member’s home. Frank was described as a true humanitarian, who kindly opened his heart to help someone in distress when they had nobody else to turn to.


On the afternoon of December 12, light snow was falling over the city when Para Transpo Operator Jean-Marc was informed that there was an unresponsive customer onboard his mini bus. He immediately pulled over to a safe location in order to assess the situation, and discovered that a customer was, in fact, not breathing. Without hesitation, Jean-Marc called into the Transit Operations Control Centre for help and began performing CPR. A moment later, the woman’s breathing was restored. Thanks to Jean-Marc’s immediate response, the customer survived what could have been a fatal situation.