MAX operator 'partially responsible' in father-son separation

Print
Email
|

by Anne Yeager and KGW.com Staff

KING5.com

Posted on November 23, 2009 at 6:37 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 23 at 6:40 PM

PORTLAND -- A MAX operator was suspended Monday in connection to the Nov. 16 separation of Aaron Bailey from his 3-year-old son at the Main Street platform.

Bailey told KGW that the MAX train's door closed before his son, Aiden, could climb aboard.

Bailey was taking his son to Head Start.  The Green Line was approaching the Main Street Platform when the doors opened.As Aiden stepped out onto the platform, the doors shut, separating the child from his father.

"I frantically tried to push the open button, but they didn’t open, “ said Bailey.

The operator faced a disciplinary hearing on Nov. 18, according to TriMet spokesperson Mary Fetsch, for failing to respond to intercom calls.

The intercom system was functioning at the time, Fetsch added.

Bailey said he pushed the intercom at least 10 times without response. No one answered, he said.

"I had him in my hand ... when he was exiting he pulled the handicap button, “ Bailey explained. "I frantically tried to push the open button, but they didn’t open."

A Good Samaritan who had been standing on the MAX platform took Aiden by the hand and waited on the bench, according to a statement issued by TriMet on Nov. 20.

Aaron Bailey confirmed that he "left (Aiden) with a complete stranger."

Bailey said he exited the train at the next stop, crossed, and took the first train heading back toward his son.

The boy waited approximately seven minutes with the Good Samaritan, TriMet said.

"We embraced and I cried for a minute and then I hugged her (the Good Samaritan) and we cried for a minute,” Bailey said.

Once the relief passed Bailey became angry with the operator's response and questioned why the train doors had closed on his son, and why the operator did not answer the intercom calls.

Bailey told KGW on Monday he was happy the operator was disciplined.

"When this all started, I would have been happy with  personal apology. With Tri-met’s admission, I hope he’ll (the operator) be held accountable in the future," Bailey said.

Did you see this incident - or do you know how to contact the Good Samaritan who helped? Send us an E-mail

The Baileys received family passes for a year and an apology for the series of "malfunctions."

Print
Email
|