In Canada on a hot July afternoon, Valerie Taylor had just entered Toronto’s Union Station to head home. She spotted an odd group of people whom she soon realized was a confused Syrian family. A mom and dad with six children – one was disabled – were desperately trying to understand the busy terminal. They were pushing two strollers, had several large pieces of luggage, and were speaking frantically while their 11-year-old son tried to translate everything. The young boy was the only member of their family that could speak fluent English well enough.
Valerie stopped to help and asked the boy what the family needed. He explained that they had been in Canada for just 4 months. They were trying to reach family members who lived in a town 50 miles away but weren’t sure which train to take. Taylor was going in the same direction and offered to take them to the platform to get situated.
While on the train, she continued to speak to the child and realized that he was confused. The family was actually meant to be going to a different city…farther away, in the opposite direction, and on a different train line! He became upset and tried to explain this to his family.
Other passengers overheard and pulled out their phones and looked up the best route for the family to take. They contacted family members who spoke Arabic to help the family better understand…and that’s when the family realized that they didn’t have enough money to buy 7 more train tickets.
Valerie was prepared to purchase them herself when everyone around her began handing her spare cash. Everyone wanted to help. Valerie exited the train with the family, as did others who helped the family carry luggage. Valerie was at the kiosk to purchase the new tickets when a staff member of the train line came running to stop them.
Somehow, someone had notified the company, who arranged for a bus to pick the family up and take them to their destination free of charge.
Valerie couldn’t believe the kindness of everyone around her on a balmy Wednesday afternoon in the middle of rush hour, and was very proud of her country that day. 🙂
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