Guest Blog Written By Yummy Mummy: Michelle Stockwell
When the recent news broke of a mother allegedly being harassed by a TTC employer the other day, I was sadly, not surprised. I was also not surprised when people began to support the TTC driver’s alleged comments.
My husband and I made the decision to live in the city a number of years ago, and with that, came some lifestyle choices. Owning a car in Toronto is a pain in the ass. Really… you have to pay to park it at home and where ever you drive it to. Driving in the downtown core is a logistical nightmare, and insurance is more expensive in the city. Never mind that I do not have my licence (slacker). We are not poor, living on the poverty line and struggling to make it day to day, we simply chose this life. Using the TTC has never bothered me. Sure, it’s germy and there are always colourful (crazy) people around, but I effin’ love this city and with that comes a little bit of colourful-ness- I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Ahhhh, I remember the carefree days of being a child-less mother, running to catch the bus because I took an extra couple of minutes doing my hair in the morning, coffee thermos in one hand, purse slung across my body and my three-inch heels barely hitting the ground as I’d run out in the middle of the street, narrowly missing oncoming traffic to breathlessly board my bus. Those days are no more. Life is always about leaving early, wearing flats and using proper traffic lights now. Back in the child-less days, I would join in the throngs of disgruntled people in rolling our collective eyes as the bus would kneel down and let a mother on with her huge-ass stroller carrying a snotty, screaming child. I am ashamed of that person.
Some of the pro-driver comments that I have seen have been to the effect of ‘what was the mother doing on the bus with her child at 6:40 in the morning’ or ‘why can’t she wait until rush-hour is over’….seriously? Isn’t it 2013 now? Does a woman really need to justify her right to go back to work after having a child? Shouldn’t we applaud people for going back to work instead of living off the system? Because I guarantee that if she stayed home and collected welfare, we would be hearing about that lazy mother who sits on her ass all day and lives off our tax money. Not all of our spouses make 6 figures; the majority of households need two incomes. I guarantee that no mother chooses to board a bus at 6:40 in the morning to go for a stroll in the park or grab a cup of coffee.
I will admit I have the Cadillac of strollers. My Uppa baby is big and heavy and I could barely lift with my daughter in it when she was an infant, never mind now. I chose my stroller for the way it manoeuvers, the fact that it has wheels that will not go flat, and I will admit, I chose it for the way it looks as well. If I know I am going to get stuck on public transit during rush hour, I try my hardest to leave the stroller at home and carry my daughter in my carrier. She is a year old- I really don’t know how much longer that will be manageable. I am hoping that my daughter continues to be a small baby and a good walker so that I can leave the stroller at home during rush hour because as much as the driver seemed to think that the stroller was an inconvenience to him, and other passengers think it’s a hassle for them, it’s really a pain in the ass for the mother too!
Let me describe my closest subway station. I live very close to Lawrence subway station. It’s an affluent area with many commuters. It also has NO ELEVATOR. There are 3 very long flights down to the subway level. The first flight does not even have an escalator, and the flights with escalators are not always working. Furthermore, it is scary to have a stroller on an escalator. One time during the summer, I had to carry Evelyn down 3 flights of stairs in my arms while I pushed the stroller down the stairs with the other. When I was half-way down the last flight of stairs, someone offered to help me.
Once you make it down the to the subway level, it’s no walk in the park either. People push in front of the stroller and I am lucky to get on before the chimes start dinging.
Then there are the people on the subway. Oh the comments I have heard- I won’t even get into them right now.
Despite all of this, I will not be buying a car anytime soon (after all, I would have to learn how to drive first). Most of the time, bus drivers lower the platform for me without my even asking, most of them are nice, hardworking people who genuinely seem to care and many go out of their way to make our commute as enjoyable as possible. People usually coo and smile at my daughter and sometimes, I even get offered a seat. I would think that a mother with a stroller on the bus would be much less offensive then a teenager sitting in the seats at the front of the bus, with the bag taking up a second seat while some elderly person has to walk to the back of the bus or even worse, stand. I try to take up as little room as possible; Try to keep my daughter from having a hissy fit on a crowded bus or train. I try to get on and off the bus as quick as possible, and I generally try to be a nice person.
I wonder what the response would have been if this were a person in a mobility device rather than a mother with a stroller?
Regardless of the inconvenience (perceived or real) of a stroller on the TTC, the alleged comments that the driver made about the whereabouts or existence of the boy’s father were totally uncalled for. If those comments were made, then that man needs to give his head a shake- what business is it of his? How dare he assume that this child does not have a father, that this mother is a single mother or that even if she is a single mother, this somehow makes her a lesser person? In the Toronto Star article that I read this story in, it was mentioned that the boy was on his way to his new Montessori school. I am a Montessori teacher and as such, I know that politeness and manners are a big part of the Montessori curriculum. I can only hope that the boy learns what this bus driver seems to have missed- If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.
Sabrina Gabrielli-Brewer says
Very well said/written Michelle! Completely agree!!
Hi Sabrina! Pina here and I must agree…Michelle did a fantastic job on this blog 🙂
One day in the last year I was on the 79 scarlett road bus and as we were punllig out of the Runnymede station the driver got on his cell phone and was checking the paper. He stayed on the phone through some pretty narrow streets and all this time he was driving one handed and sometimes used his knee to assist the hand that was on the wheel. Well he stayed on the phone until I got off which was more than10 minutes. When I got off I immediately emailed the TTC through their website ..I never received a response. Surprise surprise.
Fire their asses! And ..they should be fined just like the rest of us if we text or use our cell poehns while driving. Remember the law that was passed last year????? Public transit drivers should be the least likely to break this law since they are PAID to get the public to their destinations safely What makes these idiots think they’re above the law? KEEP TAKING THOSE PICTURES FOLKS! TTC officials DO YOUR JOBS when people complain.
Glad you posted this! Well done Michelle.
Very well written. Thanks for taking the time to do this!
There should be an elevator at Lawrence Station, but there’s not a ton of demand. That can change. Write your councillor (should be Karen Stintz). email@example.com Share your story with her. Demand better. Demand change.
I think the public suolhd just leave these TTC employees alone. What this driver did was not right but file a complaint to the TTC not to the media! Would you like it if someone took a picture of you doing something you suolhdn’t be doing at work and posted it online or published it in the newspaper?