By Maryam Shah ,Toronto Sun
First posted: Sunday, July 20, 2014 06:09 PM EDT
Disabled man Kevin Rogers, 51, alleges a TTC collector verbally abused him, prompting Rogers to file a complaint with the TTC. (Maryam Shah/Toronto Sun)
TORONTO – Kevin Rogers simply wanted to ride the subway with his family to Ripley’s Aquarium on a sunny weekday.
Instead, he says he got an earful from a TTC booth collector who accused him of being a “diddler” in front of other people.
Rogers has been quadriplegic and in a wheelchair since a diving accident at the age of 20. The 51-year-old who says he has worked in disabilities training for 17 years is no stranger to taking the TTC daily, usually alone.
His limited hand dexterity means he can’t physically pull out a token to pay his fare. So he usually ends up relying on a TTC employee or fellow rider to reach into a Roots pouch strapped around his waist to retrieve a token for the fare box.
But last Wednesday morning, Rogers claims that a St. Clair station booth collector, when faced with this request, went “beyond rude” in his response.
“I asked him if he would take the token out,” Rogers said. “That’s when he said ‘Are you some kind of diddler?’ And he told me that I was sick and that I had issues and then he finally just let me pass through the gate.
“It was very hurtful.”
Faced with a bizarre public accusation of perversion, Rogers says he did not know how to respond.
“I was appalled and I was shocked and embarrassed and hurt,” he said.
The alleged interaction was over in a matter of minutes but bothered Rogers enough to file an official complaint with the TTC.
“This guy should have some kind of sensitivity training or something or a serious reprimand,” Rogers said. “You don’t deal with customers in that manner.”
TTC spokesman Brad Ross said he couldn’t speak to details of the allegation but the TTC will “review the complaint, speak with the customer, and interview the employee concerned to determine next steps.”
While all employees “have discretion in how they go above and beyond to assist a customer,” a station collector cannot leave the booth for “security reasons,” Ross added.
He said TTC workers do undergo sensitivity training and are expected to “treat all members of the public with dignity and respect.”
Rogers said he isn’t looking for a termination, he simply wants better training. He said this isn’t the first time a transit worker has treated him rudely.
“It’s not just an isolated incident,” he said. “All he had to say is, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t assist you with that.'”