Bike donation helps Sheena Bird's family, disrupted by transit lockout

A Saskatoon family is benefiting from the kindness of a fellow citizen, who heard of their need for a bicycle to cope with the transit lockout that has cancelled buses in the city.

Sheena Bird was worried cancelled bus service would force her son to miss some school

Michal Willfong says he was waiting for an opportunity to donate a bike and when he learned of the challenges facing one family, affected by the bus lockout, he stepped up. (CBC)
Sheena Bird was in a bind trying to sort out how to get herself to work and her son to school with no bus service. A donated bike solves the problem. (CBC)

A Saskatoon family is benefiting from the kindness of a fellow citizen, who heard of their need for a bicycle to cope with the transit lockout in the city.

The lockout, which started Saturday, hit Sheena Bird and her family hard.

Bird, who lives in the Meadowgreen neighbourhood, is a bus user and mother of two.

The family's normal routine relies on bus service to ensure everyone gets to work and school on time. However, with no buses, Bird says she was facing a dilemma with how to get one of her youngsters to school and still get to a job on time.

"Normally I take him about 40 minutes early and he sits at the school and then I would hop on the bus to get here [to work] on time," Bird explained to CBC News. "But now I have to walk at least an hour just to get here."

The family had a bike, which would have solved the time-crunch, but it was stolen and finances are too tight to buy a replacement.

When Michal Willfong heard about the problem, he stepped up -- with a bike.

He said he was inspired by hearing of another person in Saskatoon offering a bike to another family and was keen to do the same.

"Then the perfect opportunity [arose]," he said.

As it turned out, CBC News received a number of notes from people who were interested in helping out the Bird family. Willfong happened to be first on the scene.

"Now I can actually get around very easily," Bird said, appreciative of Willfong's gesture.

The situation Bird encountered was not unique in her area. She says most of her friends and neighbours also rely on the bus, which was one of the reasons finding alternative rides wasn't possible.

"It's made it really difficult to get groceries and we do rely on the Food Bank as well," Bird said, noting it takes about an hour and a half to walk to the Food Bank. 

Willfong's bike donation comes with handy carrying bags, which may help out with some grocery trips.

Bird said she was hoping the city and the union would find a way to end the lockout, quickly.

"I would like them to make their decision already and find something that works for both sides," she said. "This isn't fair to everybody else. They may think they're only locking out the workers, but they're essentially locking down the entire city."

Should more be done to help vulnerable people in the city? What do you think can be done? Join the Saskatoon Morning live chat right now. 

With files from CBC's Kathy Fitzpatrick


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