A sick boy on a stalled GO train brought out the 'helpful' Canadian spirit

A five-year-old was set to miss his specialist's appointment at Sick Kids after his family got caught in the 1.5-hour GO train delay. But other passengers stepped in to help.

Abdulaziz Shoev, 5, has brittle bone disease and was going to miss his appointment at Sick Kids

A Good Samaritan gave Abdulaziz Shoev, 5, an apple after the little boy became hungry on the delayed GO train. He and his mother, Shirin Ziyovuddinova, were travelling to Sick Kids to see a specialist. (Serenity Palia/CBC)

The morning's stresses mounted quickly.  

A frozen GO train meant that Abdulaziz Shoev, 5, would miss his appointments at Sick Kids, his mother Shirin Ziyovuddinova realized.  Recovering from kidney stones, the little boy began to cry as the delay — which stopped all GO trains and nine Via Rail lines Friday — dragged on for an hour and a half.

The direction of the day changed, however, thanks to the quiet kindness of the other passengers, Ziyovuddinova said.

'In my eyes it's a gift'

"A lady, she was so nice and she offered an apple," Ziyovuddinova said. "He ate that apple and he was just fine after that. I was so grateful — I will never forget that person.

"You think it's just some small gesture, but in my eyes it's a gift."

The Mississauga woman left Port Credit GO station at 9:16 a.m., with plenty of time to get downtown before their first appointment at 10:30 a.m. 

But their car got stuck in Mimico on the Lakeshore West line. 

Thankfully, Ziyovuddinova said that her husband was able to reach the specialist's office who rescheduled the boy's appointments for the afternoon.

"I guess we weren't the only family that had this issue," she said, noting her husband was told that other kids were affected by the stoppage.

Passengers on a train on the Lakeshore West line pass the time while the train is stopped. (Serenity Palia/CBC)

Her son needed an ultrasound, as well as the doctor's visit, to see whether the treatment he'd received for kidney stones was successful.

He also has brittle bone disease, the reason that the family chose to move from their native Tajikistan two years ago.

While the access to health care prompted the decision to come to Canada, the reaction of those on the GO train was emblematic of the Canadian spirit the family has experienced since its arrival, Ziyovuddinova said.

The conductor came through several times, made a few jokes to lighten the mood, and offered the use of his phone, according to other passengers.

And everyone stayed calm and patient.

"It's these things that I really do appreciate since we came," Ziyovuddinova said. "We noticed that people are very, very helpful and in any kind of situation you can find a friendly response."

About the Author

Laura Fraser

Digital Journalist, Toronto

Laura Fraser is an award-winning journalist who writes about justice, politics and the human experience. She spent more than a month digging into the state of long-term care in Nova Scotia, has been witness to the joy and the sorrow of Syrian refugees, and still gets an adrenaline rush from breaking a big story. On weekends, the Toronto native can be found in hiking boots, on skis, or guarding home plate for The Hazzards.

With files from Tania Mehta


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