The TTC at rush hour.
Need we say more?
Between the overcrowded subway cars, lengthy wait times, and the typical commuter d-bags, it can pretty much be hell on earth.
Now, imagine it for Deckard Peters, a 5-year-old Toronto boy with autism.
He sits through an hour-long TTC commute every weekday morning across town to his behavioural therapy appointment – then home again at 3 p.m.
With his mother Farida, Deckard endures 17 subway stops, two trains, a train change, a bus, and a walk.
Brutal, right? As you can imagine, Deckard isn’t always too thrilled by it, especially after a particularly difficult day.
Like most kids, the boy was at first taken with the sights and stimulus of the TTC, but the crowds and delays began to agitate him some days. He may rebel by kicking, shrieking, or hitting, sometimes alarming or annoying fellow passengers.
A lot of fellow TTC riders simply don’t get it and simply assume he’s being a brat.
After all, Deckard looks like any other 5-year-old, with his disability and struggle invisible to the untrained eye. Plus, nobody’s in a good mood on the TTC.
That’s why his mom now explains her son’s behavior to fellow passengers in the easiest way possible; a sign secured to her backpack reads, “My son is 5 years old and has autism,” followed by, “Please be patient with us. Thank you.”
The good news is that the sign seems to be working. Farida notices that TTC-riders have been more understanding, compassionate, and helpful thanks to the handmade sign.
So there’s hope for a happy commute after all.