GO Transit drivers are taught to be aware of things even beyond the route ahead and time of their next stop. Recently, training, intuition and humanity saw driver Bryan Jeresano notice an 18-year-old student standing with a worried look, as she waited for a ride at night. What Jeresano did next – and why the woman looked concerned – is being heralded as heroic.
It was after dark and Trinity, an 18-year-old University of Guelph student, ventured out alone after work one night last week to catch her regular city bus home.
While waiting at the bus stop, a car slowed as it passed her, before stopping not too far from where she waited. One of the two men in the car got out and started to quickly walk towards her.
Sensing immediate danger, Trinity was frightened by the look in the stranger’s eyes. He made her instantly fear the worst was about to happen.
She headed away from him. It was isolated and dark. Alone, Trinity – we are withholding her last name and some specifics of the incident to protect her safety and privacy – was beyond terrified as the man quickly moved toward her in the dark.
It was at this moment that Bryan Jeresano, a seven-year bus driver with GO Transit was driving his bus nearby. He recognized the young woman as he had seen her at the city bus stop in the past few months. But he had never seen the look of fear on her face before.
He intuitively knew something was wrong and stopped his bus close to Trinity. This proactive effort thankfully triggered a hasty retreat by the men, who sped off.
Jeresano asked Trinity to get on his bus to ensure she got safely back to the university and tried to keep her calm and settle her fears. He then followed the car to obtain the license plate and subsequently filed a police report.
“If it wasn’t for this amazing human being, and his quick reaction, I don’t even want to think what would have happened to my daughter,” Jenni, Trinity’s mother said.
“I can’t stress enough how much appreciation I have for this kind soul and would really like to thank him in person some day. He went way above and beyond his duties and went out of his way to help her.
“We will never forget him.”
During the ride to the University of Guelph, the passenger and driver made small talk to ease her anxiety.
“But it was clear to us both that it was starting to sink in that she may have just dodged a bullet,” the bus driver said.
“She thanked me over and over again. This is when it hit me that she was genuinely terrified. And I was so happy to have been there to help her.”
“As a bus driver, I am used to seeing beyond the ordinary, to really pay attention to details, for anything extraordinary.”
Jeresano wrote the plate number on his hand quickly for Trinity to take a photo of so they both could file a police report.
As a brand new father of a baby girl, the moment resonated for the GO driver once he got home.
“I couldn’t tell my wife about it right away as it was still surreal,” he said. “But it really made me think about my little girl and hope that someone helps her if she ever feels threatened someday.”
This GO bus driver happened to be in the right place at the right time, but most importantly he used his instincts built up after working with the public and being conscious of safety.
There is likely no way to know what the men in the car wanted, and whether bad intentions were at play. But the world offers up enough alarming headlines to believe the worst could have happened. Or at the very least, enough to terrify a young woman.
“Safety and good customer service are critical components of all Metrolinx staff training,” said Eve Wiggins, Vice President of Bus Services with GO Transit.
“Our GO Bus Drivers work with hundreds of passengers each day and develop a keen, intuitive understanding of the needs of our customers—especially when they are in distress. I am extremely proud of each of our drivers and am so happy that Bryan used his keen eye and commitment to great public service to help this young woman.”
Jeresano said the training he received is key to ensuring safety and security is always front of mind, not just for him but for all Metrolinx employees.
He noted: “Everyone home safe, every day, really is our goal not just a slogan.”
He will be receiving a Metrolinx Safety Award for his dedication and commitment to public safety.
But even more, he will always have the thanks of Trinity and her family.
The incident, which happened last week, has been reported to the local police.
Story by Anne Marie Aikins, senior manager, Media Relations.