Watch above: A Lamont mother got quite the scare when her two young daughters were separated from her on the LRT and left on a station platform alone. Eric Szeto reports.
EDMONTON – A trip to K-days for Monday Morning Magic was anything but magical for an Alberta mother and her three daughters.
Tammy Matthews and her daughters Hailey, Brooke and Abigail planned to spend the day at K-days. Every year they take the LRT and attend Monday Morning Magic so Abigail, who is partially blind, can enjoy the festival without feeling overwhelmed.
“They loved to get on the train and watch the people and go on the different stops,” said Tammy. “We’ve done it numerous times and have never had an issue with anything.”
That all changed on Monday morning when Tammy and her daughters got on the train at Clareview Station and headed towards Coliseum Station.
Hailey, 10, and Brooke, seven, got off the train ahead of Tammy as she helped Abigail, who is also seven years old, find her way to the platform. Before Tammy and Abigail could get off the train, the LRT had closed its doors and began to move. Tammy hit the emergency button and yelled for the LRT to stop, but it continued pulling away from the station.
“In my mind, as soon as I pushed that button, before they left the station, and when I screamed ‘stop the train’ that train should have been stopped,” Tammy said.
With her two girls left behind at Coliseum Station, Tammy continued to press the emergency button. The operator said he would stop the train at Stadium Station so she could be directed right back towards Coliseum Station. When she realized there was no chance the LRT would stop, she urged the operator to get security to watch over Hailey and Brooke.
“I knew that we had to stay put,” said 10-year-old Hailey. “I knew we couldn’t get back on the train.”
It was over five minutes later when Tammy was reunited with her daughters.
“It was very terrifying,” said Tammy.
“It didn’t really kick in until we stopped and I got them back and my whole body turned to Jello.”
When Tammy reached Hailey and Brooke, there was no security in sight.
“They obviously weren’t at the Stadium Station or Coliseum Station that day,” Tammy said. “Am I unreasonable in thinking that in five minutes they should be at an incident already?”
Matthews tried to get a hold of Edmonton Transit for an explanation and says her complaint was not answered until four days later.
Cheryl Oxford, spokesperson for the City of Edmonton, said that the LRT operator followed protocol when responding to this incident.
“This is highly unfortunate for the individual,” said Oxford. “The good news is that her children were being monitored from our control centre cameras at all times and she was able to reunite with her children very quickly.”
Oxford explained it is typical for a train to stop at the next station when the emergency button is pressed. She said the operator will ask about the nature of the emergency and will stop at the next station to address it accordingly. When Tammy explained her emergency, the control centre was immediately notified, said Oxford.
“From our experience, I don’t think we’re going to take it ever again until we’re a little bit older,” said Hailey.
Tammy said that she will not be taking the LRT again until the girls are old enough to be on their own. Abigail makes frequent visits to the Stollery Children’s Hospital and Tammy would usually take the LRT to get there. Now, she would rather drive and pay for parking.
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