Transpo employees honoured for quick thinking

SEE VIDEO http://www.ottawasun.com/2013/05/14/transpo-employees-honoured-for-quick-thinking

Dennis Mayhew has seen plenty from behind the wheel of a city bus.

Witnessing a pedestrian get hit, then run over by a truck drove Mayhew into action last summer.

The OC Transpo operator was working Route 5 on Aug. 26 when the collision unfolded at Brittany Dr. and Montreal Rd.

Mayhew blocked the intersection — preventing more motorists from injuring the unconscious woman — using the bus as he waited for police and paramedics to arrive.

“Well basically, the actions I did, like anybody else would’ve done. I mean, you’re in a situation where it happens in front of you. You just don’t even think. You just do what you have to do, you call who you have to call,” said Mayhew.

The injured woman was taken to hospital.

Mayhew was one of 15 Transpo employees recognized for their quick thinking in 2012 at the 23rd TranSecure Awards held at the Shenkman Arts Centre Tuesday morning.

But they were reluctant to be regarded as heroes.

Take Jeffrey Wilson, who’s been driving for four years.

A snowstorm didn’t deter Wilson from saving another woman’s life during a challenging day on the road.

Driving Route 114 on March 14, he was running behind schedule and having problems with the rear door.

Scanning the sidewalks for passengers, “I saw somebody waving their arms down in the — basically, it was a ditch. It was a deep shoulder off the road, off Conroy — and I realized after I had gone by that it was somebody with a wheelchair and I thought, ‘there’s railroad tracks down there and they may have been stuck,’” said Wilson.

He stopped the bus, ran to check, “and sure enough, it was lady in a wheelchair, an electric wheelchair, and she was stuck.”

With help from two passengers, Wilson helped free the woman from the tracks.

Wilson said “fate” brought him there.

“You know, I get the satisfaction of seeing somebody get on their way and not get either frozen or hit by a train, you know, heaven forbid…” he said.

While saving lives and guiding residents to safety isn’t officially part of the job description, operators do far more than just turn the wheel.

ParaTranspo driver Cesar Calderon was named TranSecure employee of the year for crossing four lanes of traffic to assist two visually-impaired men crossing the street.

Twitter: @ottawasunkroche

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