Photo by Jason Wieler.
Jason Wieler snapped the photo above—of an apparently sleeping TTC ticket collector—on January 9 at 9:46 p.m. at McCowan Station. Wieler, sick for the past few weeks, but eager to share “with a few buddies” who follow him on Twitter, “finally got around to posting it” today, tweeting it before noon with the caption “Yup, love how my TTC dollars R being spent…” From there and then, you can guess what happened next.
Reached over the phone on Thursday night as he headed towards the subway downtown, Wieler explained what happened: “I actually was coming home. I was actually doing some work for my website”—OGLE Toronto—”and, lo and behold, I got off the train…and there’s this dude just conked out. And I said, ‘you gotta be kidding me.’ I thought I was on Candid Camera or something like that. So I snapped a pic [and] got a few laughs out of it.”
The collector, Wieler guesses, was asleep for at least a “solid five minutes” while he was at the station. “When you look at the photo, his mouth was wide open. You only get that way when you’re totally conked out, right?”
When asked what the impulse was to share the pic to a limitless audience, Wieler explained that it was originally intended for his friends, though he shared it with the recent fare hike in mind, which he says “a lot of people are a bit upset” about. “And, of course, in today’s age,” he adds, “hey, whatever you put out there, who knows how fast it spreads and how quickly it catches on? [On] second thought, looking back on how crazy this thing took off I should have knew better, because obviously people have some high feelings about what’s going on right now….but originally I just wanted to share with a few buddies, ‘what gives?’ that type of thing.”
Reached for comment, TTC director of communications Brad Ross said that he had seen the photo. “It is of great concern to us,” Ross wrote in an email. “We’re looking into it….the matter will be addressed. I can’t say any more than that right now.”
Wieler says that this is the first time he’s seen a TTC worker “totally out of it,” but that he hopes that whatever the outcome of his photo is, it’s not a job lost for the conductor he photographed. “I didn’t want to get the dude in trouble…that wasn’t my intent of course; I know that this guy’s probably got a mortgage and kids. No one wants to take away someone else’s work. But on the flip side, I’m still rubbed a bit the wrong way when it comes to the fare hike and I thought we got a raw deal on that. It’s a fine line: you don’t want to get the guy in trouble—that wasn’t my intent originally to do that.” But, he adds, “I wasn’t the one sleeping.”