A Toronto bus driver, on the job for less than six months, is being credited with saving a man’s life.
Reanna Bourque, who joined the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) in October 2021, was driving the 134 Progress bus in Scarborough on March 6th around 11:00 in the morning, when she noticed “an individual in distress.”
“As I got closer, the individual actually attempted to get a little bit closer to my bus in the roadway, so I actually had to stop and secure my bus,” she recalled.
“Something just wholeheartedly didn’t feel right and something, whatever it was, that compelled me to get out of the bus and just to talk to this person just to see what was going on,” she added.
Bourque says it was a combination of TTC defensive driving training, past experience and instinct that prepared her for that Sunday shift.
“About six or seven years ago, I had a dear friend, who was almost like a brother to me, who attempted the same thing, if you will, and unfortunately was unsuccessful for somebody to help him,” she said.
“I just felt something wasn’t right, something was wrong and I needed to help this person.”
Bourque notified transit control, pulled the bus over safely to the side of the bridge and got out to walk and talk with the man.
“Just to be able to say, like, ‘Let’s get you help, I would love to get you some help,’ that’s exactly what I said to him, I wanted him to know that I was there for him,” she recalled.
The Toronto Transit Commission is calling Bourque’s actions “heroic.”
“Her actions saved a life, and that is something that cannot be forgotten,” noted the TTC in a statement to Global News.
Bourque physically held the man, with the help of three of her customers, until first responders arrived to care for him.
She said she hopes others will consider helping a stranger if they too notice someone in a difficult situation.
“Obviously you don’t have to get involved in every type of situation, but don’t overlook it … you never know what somebody is going through and it doesn’t hurt to say, ‘How are you, can I help you, is there something I can do for you,’ it doesn’t hurt to say that,” she said.
Bourque has reached out for support through the TTC, and from her fiance, who also happens to work as a TTC operator.
“I’m getting the help that I need to recover on my own mentally and again, get back to work and do what I do best — drive a bus.”