From left: Calgary Transit operator Parminder Ghuman,
Daniel Petke with wife Brittni and son Kayden,
Calgary Transit operations supervisor Shannon Dorozio,
and operator Karey Depatie.
It all happened quickly, said Daniel, who met and thanked the Calgary Transit employees Wednesday.
“He jumped on the train right away like he always does. I turned around and my wife was not quite right behind me, and I ran back to grab the groceries and help her onto the train. By the time I got back to the train it was shutting, and I slammed on the button, started banging on the door. I was yelling: ‘that’s my son, that’s my son.’ It was a very scary moment,” he said.“It was right out of a movie for me: the door closed, there was nothing I could do. My son’s looking right at me, yelling, ‘Daddy!’ It was heart-wrenching just watching the train pull away.”
Daniel immediately hit the transit help phone button. Shannon Dorozio, Operations Supervisor for Call Centre/PS100 did her best to calm the frantic parents.
“Optimally, this is the type of call we like to get – it was immediate so the train hadn’t even arrived at the next station. I alerted our rail control and they contacted the driver and had him check at the next station. We have CCTV cameras monitoring at platforms, we were able to keep continuity of the train, we dispatched peace officers to start heading towards the parents to pick them up if required,” she said.
Meanwhile, as CTrain operator Parminder Ghuman learned he had an unattended child on board, he wasted no time bringing the lad into the driver’s cab with him.
“He was very happy to see me. I brought him into my cab. I was worried about the parents because I have small kids, too.”
Operator Karey Depatie was waiting to meet Kayden at the next station to bring him back to his worried parents on her CTrain.
“He was such a happy little guy to have in the cab. He was talking trains the whole time,” she said.
Thanks to great work by Calgary Transit staff, the boy was quickly reunited with his relieved parents, who say it was the longest 10 minutes of their lives.
“He got off the train with a huge smile ran into my arms and the first thing he said was, ‘Mommy, I got to drive the train!” said mother Brittni.
In her 13-year career with Calgary Transit, Karey says she’s seen half a dozen young children separated from their parents on CTrains.
She has some advice for parents: “Please hold their hands. If you’re holding their hand, no one’s getting left behind.”