Bridlewood community rallies for those affected by fatal bus crash
Route 269 takes passengers to the west Ottawa community of Bridlewood
On Monday afternoon, Bridlewood residents held out signs and expressed their support for victims, passengers and bus drivers affected by last Friday's fatal OC Transpo bus crash.
Motorists along Stonehaven Drive honked their horns over the course of the rush hour while about two dozen people waved signs with hearts around the number 269, the route of the bus involved.
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Tamara McLean-Dobson is a member of the Facebook group that put out the call for people to come and show their support.
"They are unconditionally offering their support to anyone who needs it," McLean-Dobson said.
"There's been talk of meal trains happening once we find out how and who we can support ... Even if you're not affected directly, indirectly it can still hurt. We want people to know that it's OK to reach out for help."
Support for drivers
Scott Koczka got off a double-decker bus at the corner where the crowd gathered. His four-year-old daughter and six-year-old son gave heart-covered drawings to the bus driver.
"The kids are out here showing their support to the bus driver, and the people that take the route and the families that are affected," Koczka said.
He said he and his wife have had to have tough conversations about what would happen if either of them were caught in a similar incident.
Caroline Holt-Carew brought her 12-year-old daughter Jennifer to the corner of Cedarock Drive and Stonehaven.
"It's our community. This bus was supposed to be heading out to Bridlewood," Holt-Carew said.
'Everybody getting together'
Samuel Yumvihoze lives in Bridlewood and takes the bus to school downtown. The 17-year-old said he has stopped sitting on the right-hand side of the upper level because that side of the bus was more severely damaged in the crash.
"There are people that I would've recognized everyday that go to that bus that won't be there anymore. And that aspect is something that takes a little more time to realize," Yumvihoze said.
But he was heartened by the crowd of well-wishers that greeted him when he stepped off the bus.
"It's nice to see everybody getting together in the face of such a tragedy, honestly. To see that people can come together even in a time where it seems like it's so easy to divide everybody."