go train toronto

Kind stranger returns purse lost on Toronto GO train and asks woman to pay it forward

Losing a wallet or purse is never a good feeling — and when one Toronto woman realized her purse was left behind on a GO Train seat, all she could do was watch the doors slide closed.

Peggy Yablonski says that's what happened to her on Nov. 1, but fortunately, much like a man who recently lost a wallet full of cash, her story has a happy ending.

Yablonski was returning to the Danforth GO Station from a visit in Oshawa.

"I had the purse sitting on the seat beside me thinking, 'oh, this is great. I won't forget it here,'" Yablonski tells blogTO.

But before the train pulled into her station, she got a phone call and was engaged in the conversation when she heard the announcement for Danforth.

"I just stood up, grabbed my luggage and got off the train," she says.

She realized, with a sinking feeling, that her purse was still on the seat, but it was too late. There was no way to stop the doors from closing.

"I was like a deer in headlights. It's like, Who do I even call? Where do I go?" she says. "I'm standing here on the platform, my whole entire life is in that purse. I was horrified."

In tears, she walked into the kiosk on the platform and, fortunately, a Metrolinx employee was there.

Within seconds the staff person was on the phone calling Union Station, and they were able to get people to sweep the train and look for her purse. But after about 20 minutes, they hadn't found it.

The woman asked for Yablonski's phone number and told her she would call if they found her purse. If they didn't find it, she suggested Yablonski go to the Union Station lost and found.

Yablonski started to contact her credit card companies and bank on the way home.

"If anybody picks that purse up, all they have to do is just jump off and just start using my cards because they are all tap."

Just as she got home, she got a notification from Messenger. A man named Andrew, who was on the train to Burlington, had found her purse, searched for her on Facebook and sent a message. He apologized for searching through her purse for the ID, but Yablonski was happy he went to so much effort to contact her.

"That's really going above and beyond."

He handed the purse over to Metrolinx staff on the train and Yablonski later picked the purse up at Union Station.

She offered Andrew a reward but he declined.

"He just said, 'Pay it forward,'" she says. "'I just put myself in your shoes, it made doing the right thing easy.'"

Yablonski was so appreciative of both Andrew's efforts and all the people who helped her from Metrolinx, she posted a detailed thank you on Facebook, which has garnered many comments.

She hasn't found an opportunity yet to pay it forward but she will be looking out for a chance to help someone.

While not everyone would do the right thing, she is grateful Andrew did.

"I love that statement from him. 'I put myself in your shoes, and it made it easy for me to do the right thing.' So that's probably going to stick with me for a little while."

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