Getting back on the bus: Woman struck in 1995 has this advice for Ottawa riders

It took Tanya Reid six years after she was struck and injured by a bus in Mississauga, Ont., to overcome her fear of public transit. Her advice to riders in Ottawa affected by Friday's deadly crash? 'Don't be wasting that time.'

For Tanya Reid, those old fears came rushing back when she heard about Friday's fatal collision

Tanya Reid, 48, was struck and injured by a bus in Mississauga, Ont., in 1995. She didn't ride public transit for another six years. (Tanya Reid)

For years, Tanya Reid would feel her body start to shut down every time she saw a bus go by. She couldn't even stand the sound of them.

The Mississauga, Ont., woman was struck by a public transit bus on Feb. 2,1995, after she stepped off at a stop and began crossing the street on a green light.

She suffered a concussion to her head and spinal cord, and spent four days in hospital.

Reid was initially told she couldn't have children because of her injuries, but four years later she gave birth to a baby boy. It was her young son who helped motivate Reid to conquer her fear of riding the bus, she said.

It took her six years, but finally, when her son was two, the two of them boarded a bus together.

"I realized I do need to get on a bus because I need to show him that he can do anything, even if you're afraid to do it," Reid, 48, told Ontario Today's Rita Celli.

"Get back on that horse. It took me a while, but I did it."

'You're alive'

Fast forward to Friday, when an Ottawa bus slammed into a bus shelter at Westboro station, killing three people.

Reid eventually overcame her fears with the help of her young son, and is now a regular bus rider. (Tanya Reid)

Reid's son, now 19, attends the University of Ottawa. When Reid learned of the crash, she immediately reached out to make sure he was safe. As she waited anxiously for him to call back, the old fears returned.

"It brings back all of those horrible feelings about the incident when the bus hit me. And to think that something could have happened to my son, and the heartbreak those other families are feeling for the people who are lost."

Asked what she'd say to those who are now nervous about boarding a bus in Ottawa, Reid had this advice:

'It's going to scare the crap out of you for a very long time. You're going to have the nightmares, you're going to have all kinds of things running through your mind. But what I would say is, do not follow what I did in the beginning. Use the people who are there to support you to get back to where you need to be, instead of hiding. I lived that for far too many years. Don't be wasting that time.

"You're alive. Thank God for it. Embrace it, and keep going."