ConnectABILITY

My Cell Phone Saved My Life

Cell Phone context story

My name is Kirk. I am 35 years old and I want to tell you my story about how I first got a cell and why. I also want to tell you how it has helped me in two very dangerous situations.

When I went to the assessment program, which was run through Community Living Toronto, I learned how to take many different TTC routes. My dad was a little concerned about that, as he thought about the dangers on the streets and the possibility of getting lost.

That was when we sat down and talked about getting a cell phone. He had one through work. We went together and we purchased my first cell phone. I only needed this phone for emergencies so we got a basic phone and plan. My dad and my brother practised with me on dialing key numbers like the day program, my dad’s work and cell number and my brother’s numbers. You see, I can’t read or write, but I can copy. My brother and father drew pictures that represented the people so I knew what number went with whom. We made up q-cards with these numbers with pictures on them and put them in a book. I was able to carry this around in case I needed them.

One day in the winter, during a storm, I was on my way to the day program. I got on the wrong bus and when I got off the bus, I sunk deeply into a snow bank. I was stuck, couldn’t get out, and I didn’t know where I was. I thought of my cell phone. I called my staff at the day program. I told her that I didn’t know where I was, but I was stuck in a snow bank. I told her that I had taken a bus at the Islington subway, but it had gone a different way than the day program. She didn’t know where I was. Another staff at the day program contacted the police as well as the cell phone provider. Staff were driving around bus routes looking for me. The phone provider was able to track my basic location and the police officer came, got me and brought me back to the day program. You see, having a cell phone saved my life! City Pulse news heard about what happened and I told them my story!

Another time I again took the wrong bus and contacted my dad. He asked me what I saw, but nothing sounded familiar to him. He asked me if there was a gas station or store around. There was a store and while I continued to talk to him on the phone, I went there. I asked the person who worked at the store to speak to my dad. My dad was able to come and get me.

I always carry my cell phone and have learned that my dad and my support people at my apartment don’t worry so much any more because they know that I will call them if I get into trouble. My dad says that my having a cell phone gives him such Peace of Mind! I let them know when I go downtown, bowling, go to the movies, dances at the workshop or to the Queensway Cathedral.

My dad, brother and I still use the same phone provider and now we can talk for free because we have a plan that allows this. We are on the Fab Five plan. I don’t carry my book with q-cards anymore, but tucked in my wallet with my Metro Pass are all the numbers that I need!