Two Service members relayed a pair of lost Pan Am athletes to the airport in record time to ensure they got home on July 20.
With their sport completed on the first weekend of the Games, Mexican rugby players Gonzalo Pons Fleitas and Michelle Farah checked out of the Athletes Village and spent their last night in the city with friends.
Given directions using public transit to get back to the village to get their bus to the airport, the couple ended up in College Park, lost and without money, to catch a cab to the airport.
That’s when Lynn Cawker, a Toronto Police administrative coordinator the Games, who was getting her early morning coffee from Tim Hortons on College St., met the pair.
“They were dressed in their uniforms and they had their suitcases with them,” she recalled. “Realizing that I was an official accredited to the Games, the female approached and said they were lost. I squeezed them and their luggage into my little puddle jumper and drove them to the Unwin St. hub, which is close to the logistics hub, which is where they would have been able to acquire transportation.”
On their way to the logistics hub, Cawker asked the athletes when their flight was leaving.
“They said 9 a.m. and it was approaching 7 o’clock,” she said. “I knew their bus would have left the athletes village already, so I took them to the hub. Before we separated, they were very appreciative of what I did for them and the girl gave me a big hug and said I was their angel.”
Peter Ross, who has been with the Service for 29 years and is the logistics lead in charge of transportation for the Games, took the baton from Cawker, once they arrived at the hub.
“We used the HOV lanes and it took us about 25 minutes to get to the airport,” he said. “On the way, I had a great conversation with the athletes, especially the girl who spoke English fluently. I showed them where our Traffic Services was located on Hanna St. and they told me how much they liked this city and the great time they had here.”
The athletes arrived at Lester B. Pearson International Airport at around 7.45 a.m.
Ross said the drive to the airport with the athletes has been his Pan Am Games highlight so far.
“I am so busy doing transportation that I have not been able to get out to any of the venues to see any of the sports,” he said. “Just being in the presence of these high-performance athletes, and hearing them say such good things about our city and the great time they had, was very pleasing.”