THE LOL AND THE VIP
By The Late Harold Yeo
Most people know what a V.I.P. is, (Very Important Person), and many know what an L.O.L. is, (Little Old Lady).
This story is about a true incident that happened in Toronto on January 14th. 1968 when a very bad winter ice storm hit and all but paralyzed the entire city. Streetcars couldn't operate due to iced and downed wires, and the heavy snow fall limited automobiles to the very few. The going was slow and treacherous for what little was able to move. One such vehicle was a taxicab making its way along King Street towards the downtown area carrying a lone male passenger. As they were making their way along they sighted a woman with a suitcase frantically trying to flag down the taxi.
The passenger told the cabby to stop and see what she wanted. The LOL told them she just had to get to Union Station and in a hurry! The passenger invited her to join him since he was going there himself and she would have little or no chance of getting another taxi. Climbing in the cab she informed the driver again of the urgency, and told him to hurry or she would miss her train.
Due to the dangerous road condition the cabby proceeded cautiously, but was soon being urged by the LOL to drive faster! He protested, citing the bad road, downed wires etc. but to little avail. The passenger told her to just relax and let the driver do his job since it had been a bad storm that had just ended and they were lucky to be moving at all. This lasted for a few minutes before she again started up. This time the passenger asked her what train she was taking, and upon being informed it was the night train to New York (CPR #329), he informed her that he too was taking that train and she could relax as the train wouldn't leave without him. For once the LOL was speachless.
Now it was the cab driver's turn. Looking at the man in the mirror he remarked as to how he must be a V.I.P. if the railroad was going to hold the train just for him! No, demurred the man, he wasn't a V.I.P. With that the cab driver turned around to look directly at his passenger and asked somewhat sarcastically, just what made him think the train wouldn't leave without him? Came the quiet response; "I'm the engineer!"
Harold Yeo was the engineer in this story who related it to me many years ago. He was a Hamilton Pool engineer for many years dating back to steam engine days.