On April 23, a monster driving a van jumped the curb on Toronto’s Yonge Street, leaving a trail of 10 dead and 16 injured people. It was a deliberate and incomprehensible act that sent bystanders into quick action to provide CPR and first aid and provide help where needed.
Media interviewed many of the amazing bystanders who spoke of how they assisted their fellow human beings. The Toronto Star’s report highlighted the following acts of humanity.
Aras Reisn, who lives near the scene, said a family member told him someone had been hit in front of their condo.
“I looked through the window and I saw someone just collapse,” Reisn said. “Granted, I have first aid training, so the first thing I did was put on my gloves and rushed out of the door to offer help.”
He said he only noticed that other people had been injured while attending to the man hit in front of his home.
“I’m asking Canadians to please get first aid training – you never know when you will need it,” Reisn said. “The more people we have, the better and very likely you will be helping a member your own community and your own family and friends.”
Henry Yang, who was making a U-turn on Yonge Street to head south, said he noticed a white van in front of him driving on the sidewalk, hitting mail boxes, news stands and bus stop signs.
“I realized then that something is wrong,” he said, adding that the van didn’t slow down and hit a pedestrian right after.
Yang said the van then veered into incoming cars heading north and hit a pedestrian crossing the street before it veered back into the southbound lanes.
“I kept on following him and I kept honking my horn non-stop and trying to make a commotion so pedestrians would know that something was going on,” he said.
“I seen people being run over, thrown in the air … it’s very tragic.”
A makeshift memorial has been set up along Yonge Street where residents have been leaving flowers and candles and writing messages of support and condolence on large cardboard squares.
A Muslim-Canadian non-profit group called DawaNet, which helped raise more than $800,000 for the victims and their families of last year’s mosque shooting in Quebec, has launched a GoFundMe page for the victims of the Toronto incident. It had raised more than $9,000 by early Tuesday.
Our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the victims, families and friends who were affected by this senseless tragedy. Our hearts and minds cry for you.
What is happening to our world? Canadians are resilient, caring and strong. We come together to help each other and will not let this senseless act defeat us. We would like to thank all those who reacted quickly in the name of humanity and continue to encourage everyone to become first aid trained. This is just one of many ways that we can help each other in a time of need. #Torontostrong.