Lift bus driver's blunder leaves disabled woman at wrong spot

PORTLAND, Ore. - A disabled woman counting on a TriMet lift bus to get her home to Lake Oswego instead was dropped off at a hair salon in Southwest Portland on Thursday afternoon.

But because of her cerebral palsy, she couldn't tell the driver he made a mistake.

"He wheeled her in, set her there and he left," said hairstylist Sherry Bolopue.

She and the other women who work at Gina's Hair Salon off Canyon Road saw the 58-year-old woman was just sitting in her wheelchair all alone. They couldn't communicate with her, but Bolopue called the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

It sent out a deputy who called TriMet and got the bus driver to come back and pick the woman up. The woman made it back to her group home 10 miles away two hours after she was supposed to get there.

Bolopue said the women in the salon did everything they could to make sure the woman didn't feel afraid.

"I know in her heart she must have been fearful," Bolopue said. "She'd never been here."

According to the report from the sheriff's office, the driver is a 70-year-old man who could not explain to deputies why he dropped the woman off at the salon instead of in Lake Oswego. The deputy who wrote the report also said it seemed to her that the man did not know how to work his navigational computer.

The deputy figured out the woman's name and that the driver's GPS was set to take her home.

In a statement TriMet confirmed that the woman was dropped off at the wrong location. Beyond that, TriMet said it has no more information about the incident at this time.

The woman's caregiver said everyone at the home was worried about her, but once she got back and settled in she seemed to treat the whole thing like an adventure.

According to TriMet, the driver has been employed at the agency for 14 years, has a good service record and that he was very upset and apologized to the woman for the mistake.

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