How bags of good­will saved day

Bus driver re­unites Cal­gary man with gro­ceries

Metro Canada (Calgary) - - YOUR ESSENTIAL DAILY NEWS - El­iz­a­beth Cameron For metro | Cal­gary

As the bus pulled away from Richard Vi­itala, he re­mem­bered his gro­ceries.

Two bags of hash browns, frozen fruit and other essen­tials were driv­ing away and Vi­itala knew it would be a chal­lenge to re­place them.

“Food’s ex­pen­sive nowa­days, es­pe­cially if you don’t want to go to the food bank,” said Vi­itala. “Even though I’m on so­cial (as­sis­tance) … some peo­ple need it more than me,” he said.

Won­der­ing if he’d see his pur­chases again, Vi­itala called Cal­gary Tran­sit to see if they could track the gro­ceries down. They made no prom­ises but said they would ask driv­ers on the route Vi­itala was on, let­ting them know to check for unat­tended hash browns.

“I shot a prayer up to J.C. and sat back and waited for a bit — all I could do was hope,” Vi­itala said.

En­ter Mike Hillis, a Cal­gary Tran­sit em­ployee of nine years who spot­ted the miss­ing sus­te­nance on his bus. His quick ac­tions pos­si­bly saved the frozen goods from spoil.

“I called in and said I was go­ing to eat them,” Hillis said with a laugh.

He dropped off his re­main­ing pas­sen­gers and headed across town to de­liver the goods to Vi­itala, who was thrilled to hear he was get­ting his gro­ceries back.

“When I pulled up and saw the smile on his face, that just made my day,” Hillis said.

A grate­ful Vi­itala of­fered him an en­ergy drink to get through the rest of his shift.

“I was just happy I could help,” Hillis said.

“We’re not just bus driv­ers, we’re also part of the com­mu­nity … ev­ery­thing hap­pens for a rea­son.”

Vi­itala thanked Hillis and Cal­gary Tran­sit for their ef­forts to track down the food when they re­united on Wed­nes­day.

“They could have said there’s noth­ing much we can do, but they made things hap­pen,” he said.

We’re not just bus driv­ers, we’re also part of the com­mu­nity mike hillis, bus driver

El­iz­a­bEth CamEron/mEtro

Cal­gary Tran­sit driver Mike Hillis shakes hands with Richard Vi­itala, who left his gro­ceries on Hillis’ bus and was grate­ful to get them back.

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