Toronto Times 6 – Panic

Toronto Times 6 – Panic

An MSc student biology is embarking on an adventure to do a research internship in Toronto, Canada. For nine months. A leap of faith into a new world. In nine short, monthly pieces, he gives an impression of what it's like.

To get to my lab, I have to travel about 20 minutes. I always take the tram first, and then the subway. On a drizzly Tuesday, on my way to the lab, something happened to me that bewilders me to this day. I caught the bus – the trams weren't running for some reason – and got off at the intersection of University Avenue with King Street; one of the busiest intersections in downtown Toronto. As I descended the stairs to the subway station, I reached into my jacket pocket for my wallet. Nothing. Back pocket, nothing. Backpack, empty. I realized: my wallet was still on the bus, which of course had long since driven away.

Bank cards, university cards, public transportation cards. Bye-bye everything. Slightly astonished by my utter negligence, I decided to call up one of my lab colleagues. Perhaps she has an idea of what best to do. Quick and sharp as she is, she comes up with the following idea: “The bus will probably turn around at the end of King Street, maybe if you wait where you are you can catch it.” While my colleagues try to track the bus through the TTC app, I anxiously wait at the intersection. Thirty minutes later I get a message from my lab colleagues, all of whom are now helping me figure out this predicament. “Bus 80821 is arriving soon! That's probably the one you were on!” I look up, and yes! I recognize the bus driver. I ran inside and immediately asked the driver if someone handed him a wallet. With the most deadpan expression, he turns to me and asks me what the wallet looks like. "Black, small, Secrid brand," I say in a reflex. "My ID is in it; Bart Grijmans." With a slow motion, he takes out my wallet from a drawer, pulls out my LU card, and checks the name.

A few moments later, I stepped outside. Wallet in my hand. Only now the adrenaline began to hit me. Did this just happen?
Okay, chalk one up for decent humans in Toronto.


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