In Praise of Toronto

happy holidaysI think I wrote something about this last year at about this time when I was in Toronto with family…but it bears repeating, especially since mayor Rob Ford’s antics have caused the city’s reputation to take such a beating over the last couple of months.

I like Toronto. I don’t get there very often anymore, and it’s always a treat to visit, especially during the holidays. I like the excitement of the city during the holidays, even if the stores are crowded. And my visit there last week was especially nice because I not only got to spend time with my dad and a dear family friend, but I got to eat in a nice restaurant and do some wandering around the Eaton Centre and see “Les Miserables” at the Princess of Wales theatre. A very nice day.

Made so much nicer by the fact that, every time we set foot on public transportation that day (street car or subway), someone immediately offered their seat.

Toronto Residents Get It

I’m told that in other cities people don’t easily vacate seats, but it’s always been my experience in Toronto that people will jump up without  asking. Now, I can manage standing on public transportation, as long I can hang onto something – I hook my cane on my weak arm, widen my stance, and make sure that I’m paying attention at all times, because the stops are abrupt sometimes – but it’s nicer to be able to sit down and not have to worry about falling and knocking other people over in the process.

The people that stand out as giving up their seats for me are the teenage boy on the subway who wanted to know if I was sure when I declined (we were only going a stop), the elderly gentleman on the streetcar who, frankly, looked as if he might need the seat more than I did but insisted that I have it…and the man who spotted me from across the very crowded subway car when we got on, hopped up, and waved me over.

“Take your time…” he said, offering his arm.

When I was seated, beside his friend, he asked what stop I was getting off at. I motioned to Dad, standing by the door on the other side of the car, and said, “I need to watch him.”

“Don’t get off without her!” he called to Dad, who smiled.

“Does he want to sit down?” asked the man beside me, instantly concerned.

“No, don’t worry,” I said.

When Dad called back that out stop was approaching, I was again offered an arm and told to take my time, and sent off with a smile and a “Have a  great night!”

In the past, I’ve found that amount of assistance from someone, particularly a stranger, patronizing. I think that I’m getting better at gauging intention and letting it guide my reactions more. I think I’d rather live in a world where people offer to help, and just don’t get offended if people say no…

I know that the chances of anyone who gave up their seat for me last Thursday are slim…but thank you to all of you anyway.

Happy Holidays, everyone. :)

About Sarah

Due to a stroke, I've walked with a cane since I was 22 (I'm 34 now)...but I'm so much more than just the girl with the cane.
  • Linda in Winnipeg

    I find the same kind of genuine offer of help here in Winnipeg. Nice feeling

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