Sunday, November 21, 2010

Speak Out! Act Out! Make A Difference!

In many of my blog stories I write about the many things that each of us can do to make this world a better place for future generations. I think about the future a lot and I have ever-growing concerns when it comes to matters regarding our global environments. Many of my actions are geared towards educating others through my music and art - to inspire others to realize that we must become more conscious of the consequences of our actions.

This story is meant to inspire you to realize that we also have responsibilities to make our present world a better and safer place, too!

Since I started driving for Voyageur, I’ve become more aware of the intricacies of human travel within the city. I’ve started to feel ‘plugged in’ to the heartbeat of London as I pulse along its streets in my mini-bus, traveling from one vein of traffic into another.

Continuously, announcements are fed to all the drivers about which intersections are to be avoided due to car accidents, trailers that have lost a load of construction materials, etc. These FYI’s (For Your Information) help us navigate safer routes throughout the city. Sometimes, it is the actions of the drivers that make the streets safer for everyone.

One morning I was travelling down a long and narrow street. The street was sloping down, so I could see many blocks ahead. I could see that all the cars ahead of me, travelling in the same directions, were swerving to avoid something that was on the road. As I got closer I noticed that the something was a garbage can and a blue box that had fallen off of the curb onto the street.

This was a dangerous situation for all drivers. The drivers that were swerving around these large plastic bins were using the oncoming lane as their pathway. Twice I noticed, in the 20 seconds it took me to reach this obstacle, that the oncoming traffic also had to swerve dangerously to avoid the cars swerving around the garbage bins. I shook my head at this continuous example of human selfishness.

As I approached, I slowed my vehicle, turned on my emergency lights and came to a stop. As quickly as I could, I got out of my bus, grabbed the two bins and tossed them lightly onto the lawn out of everyone’s way. There! No more obstruction! Now all the traffic could continue safely. It took me 15 seconds to ensure the safety of thousands of other drivers. Maybe… possibly… this action also inspired the other drivers – who saw me do this – to take similar actions in their future.

Late, one evening, I had finished my route and I was driving my bus back towards the Voyageur base. As I came to a railway track crossing the lights began to flash and bells began to chime – indicating that traffic was to stop for a passing train. The traffic stopped and we waited and waited and no train came. Many drivers grew impatient and because there were no railway arms to stop them, these drivers began to cross the tracks.

I, too, crossed these tracks – I could see quite clearly in both directions and could see that there was no train in sight – and as I went on my way, I thought of all the confusion that this situation would continue to create for other drivers as they stopped waiting for the train that would never come.

I called the LTC (London Transit Commission) Dispatch and informed them of the situation. I requested that a call be sent out to the proper authorities to correct this matter. Half an hour later I was travelling on this same road, but in the opposite direction. I was homeward bound. As I approached these railway tracks, the lights were still blinking and the bells were still chiming, but there was also a police officer in the middle of the road directing traffic safely across the tracks. I felt very happy about the fact that my simple action had helped to recreate this situation into a safer one, thus benefiting thousands of other motorists.

As for the cartoon-like story that I’ve been sharing throughout these words…

After I had made that call to the LTC Dispatch, I continued on my way to drop off the passengers I was transporting. I had to drive past the intersection of Highbury and Oxford Street again, to get to my next pick-up location. A total of 7 minutes had passed. I was actually quite shocked to see that three emergency vehicles had already arrived on the scene - a police car, ambulance and a small firetruck. The elderly lady was nowhere to be seen – possibly in the ambulance at this point in time – and the elderly man was talking with a police officer and fireman with an expression of relief and thankfulness!

I always like stories with happy endings. I think that it is important for each of us to realize that we are the characters in our own personal stories, as well as other people’s stories (even though these connections may seem less obvious). It is our responsibility and duty to be conscious of the scripts that we create – to ensure a safe passage through our present tense so that more happy endings can be enjoyed by everyone!

As Geddy Lee ( of one of Canada’s most influential rock bands says…

All the world’s indeed a stage

And we are merely players

Performers and portrayers

Each another’s audience

Outside the gilded cage

Living in the limelight

The universal dream

For those who wish to seem

Those who wish to be

Must put aside the alienation

Get on with the fascination

The real relation

The underlying theme


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