Hello fellow customer service advocates of Toronto!
Today’s post is a little late, but as the saying goes, it’s better late than never! (By the way, isn’t it sad how people often don’t post about good service, but quickly will post about bad service? Why can’t we be balanced in our online reviews? LOL)
My mother visited us Torontonians on the weekend after the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, as she couldn’t come to Toronto on the actual holiday. No matter, her family here in T-Dot including myself made sure she had a good time, as always, and took her to the new Ripley’s Aquarium. It was very cool, but that’s another post. Anyway the family members up here had Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday and on Sunday my mom was booked to leave on a later VIA train. This would be Sunday October 19th that I am referring to, around 6 pm.
When we arrived at Union station, even though we were early, there was already a long line-up for her train. The electronic departure sign indicated that the train was already boarding, but our line was not moving. I told my mom to stand put and I went to inquire because, well, ya never know right? 🙂
So I spoke with a friendly VIA RAIL gentleman at the front of the line, where the business lounge is, and I asked about the train departure time. He asked to see my ticket and I then told him I was inquiring on behalf on my mom. He then asked “Oh, how old is your mom…like over 60?” I said “Yes, she is” and he said “Bring her here.” I noticed some elderly folks and a pregnant woman sitting in the lounge, and then felt a bit guilty and stated “but my mom’s very healthy!” and he said “it’s okay.” So I retrieved my mom, and told her not to walk ‘too fast’ and to follow me. When we arrived the VIA gentleman expressed his surprise at my mother’s youthful looks (always a great thing to say to a lady!) and she smiled and said she would be turning 63 soon! He invited her to sit down and we all chatted about the little things in life while we waited for the official boarding, which was a little behind. I was so happy she didn’t have to stand in the very long line-up, and I was not aware of the “over 60 lounge” policy. I didn’t catch the name of the VIA gentleman, although I did scan for a name tag, but he was a healthy-looking 57 year old French-Canadian with a warm smile and hearty laugh, who was able to reduce stress and discomfort for those around him.
When boarding was finally announced, the VIA gentleman turned to my mother, the pregnant lady and those others in the lounge and waved them forward. My mother, always the polite one, wasn’t sure if she deserved this special first-class treatment. But he urged her on and I could tell from the look in his eye that there was a brief window of time he was trying to get her through, before the line started moving. I ushered her on, and she said thank you and good bye to the gentleman. She gave me a quick kiss and hug and I pushed her on. She was one of the first to board. As she went up the escalator out of sight, I turned to leave, but wanted to thank the kind gentleman first. I could see now he was quickly in the midst of a sea of travellers, checking tickets and answering questions. A handshake was impossible, but I did catch eyes and bow my head to him, and smile. He bowed and smiled back.
I then left, and as I did, went past an incredibly long line-up. I was so thankful my mom, though healthy, didn’t have to stand in it. After all, she may look 50, but she is almost 63! 🙂
I truly appreciate what this VIA RAIL employee did for us, and others in need. Thank you!