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TTC employee caught sleeping on the job in January
dies of stroke

by Vincent McDermott

The TTC employee who launched a city wide outrage for sleeping on the job, died of a stroke on Saturday night.

George Robitaille became the subject of ridicule and controversy when a picture of him sleeping in a collector’s booth at McCowan station was uploaded to the internet last January.

The photo became a target for angry and frustrated TTC riders, many of whom were already upset following a raise in transit fares. Message boards and social networking sites were soon full of riders sharing their stories of TTC ineptness.

The TTC union defended Mr. Robitaille and argued that medication he was taking for a heart condition was the likely reason he fell asleep. He soon took a medical leave and apologized to the public, his co-workers, the city and the TTC.

“It was not fair that he was subjected to relentless public derision in his last year of life,” wrote Bob Kinnear, President of the Amalgamated Transit Union 113, in a statement. “But George took it like a man. He didn’t complain about being tagged with those few minutes in his 30-year career.”

In 1995, Mr. Robitaille was working for Wheel-Trans, which provides transportation for people with disabilities, when he was called a hero.

Brian Mitchell, who has a rare lung and muscle disorder, was barely conscious when Mr. Robitaille found him on the floor of his home. Mr. Mitchell said that he would have died if it was not for the efforts of Mr. Robitaille.