British Columbia

Lost Syrian refugees find their way thanks to kind hearted bus driver

A group of lost Syrian refugees found comfort, and their way home, thanks to a kind hearted TransLink bus driver.

'I thought this is too much explaining so I'm going to put the bus out of service and take them there'

TransLink bus driver Eileen Ryan says she didn't think twice about driving off-route to deliver a group of lost Syrian refugees to their downtown Vancouver destination. (CBC)

A group of lost Syrian refugees found comfort, and their way home, thanks to a kind hearted TransLink bus driver.

Last Thursday Eileen Ryan was driving the 22 Knight/Macdonald route when about 60 Syrians — including many parents with small children and strollers — started getting off and then back on her bus at Granville and Hastings.

"I saw a woman looking at her phone, looking really confused," Ryan told CBC news, noting that the woman spoke only a little English. "She said, 'we're trying to get to Davie and we're trying to find the Sandman Hotel.'"

Ryan was driving the #22 Knight/Macdonald bus last Thursday when she took a detour to the Sandman on Davie Street to drop off 60 lost refugees. (CBC)

Sensing that the group was feeling a little stressed Ryan decided to take matters into her own hands. 

"I thought this is too much explaining so I'm going to put the bus out of service and take them there," Ryan said. "I made a snap decision. There were only a few others on going somewhere else. I got all of the [refugees] aboard and I said we're going to take you to your hotel."

"They were very grateful," said Ryan. "The woman was saying that they were feeling a little bit scared and a little bit lost." 

Ryan says she didn't worry about being disciplined for leaving her route because she works for a great company, and failing that, she knew her union would have her back. 

"Any bus driver would have done it," she said. "We do things like that all the time."

Sure enough, the following day Ryan received a call from her supervisor thanking her for her kind deed.

"We are ambassadors us drivers," said Ryan. "I just wanted to make them feel welcome."

With files from Lien Yeung


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