Children, teens and fun-loving adults enjoy riding escalators. They walk up the down side and walk down the up side. Much to the chagrin of others, teens take two and three steps at a time bumping and pushing people.

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My sweet mommy did not share their excitement. She was terrified because of a potentially deadly encounter with an escalator at Toronto’s Pearson Airport. For more than ten years in a row, Mom visited my little family in Peterborough for at least a month each winter.

In today’s story, it was time for Mom to return to Nova Scotia. Glenn, two-year-old Jeremy and Mom made the two-hour trip to Toronto. They parked the car, got Mom’s luggage, put Jeremy in his stroller, and the three of them continued to the terminal. This required taking one especially long escalator. As soon as mom’s foot touched it, she lost her balance and began to tumble down the escalator. Glenn, mouth agape, watched in horror.


The edges (teeth) that form the steps of an escalator are as sharp as knives and scraped both her shins, from knee to ankle. There she sat hurt and bleeding. Glenn helped as much as he could. Understandably, Mom was “nerved up” by this.

As soon as they entered the terminal, an Air Canada employee noticed Mom was limping and bleeding, grabbed a wheelchair and whisked her away to the First Aid room. She cleaned and bandaged Mom’s wounds. With the best of intentions, the AC employee offered Mom a bit of brandy to “calm her nerves.”

Well, those of you who knew my teetotaler Mom can imagine her reaction. Oh, my land! That was the wrong thing to ask.

Mom took great offence and refused the alcohol, all the while making it crystal clear she didn’t even drink pop, tea and coffee. Her drinks of choice were water and milk. Sarah Roache drinking brandy? Tsk, tsk, tsk.

AC staff then put Mom on one of those airport carts with the flashing lights and a beep-beep sound, something like a golf cart, and took her directly to the gate. From there, they transferred her to a wheelchair and hurried onto the plane. Glenn felt sick about the whole affair. Ruth and Edsel were waiting for Mom in Halifax and he had no way to notify them of what had taken place.

They couldn’t believe their eyes, when Mom was wheeled out with her legs bandaged. Poor Mom looked as if she had been in a war. A kind AC employee explained what had taken place in Toronto.

Over time, the painful cuts and scrapes healed, but Mom grew even more afraid of escalators, but that wasn’t the worst part. Mom neither forgot nor forgave the well-meaning person who offered her a drink of brandy. What if someone in Lockeport found out?

That would be worse than the rumour that Sarah Roache had a stroke at BINGO circulated around town.

Someone got the message wrong. It was Mrs. Vera Roache from West Head.