CALGARY — A Calgary woman who is now paralyzed after police say she was pushed in front of an oncoming transit train is awake from life-saving surgery and feels thankful to be alive, her son says.
Allan Hein says his mother, Rozalia (Rose) Meichl, doesn't remember much of the incident Thursday afternoon on a platform near Stampede Park where she was allegedly shoved from behind onto the tracks, but knows she can't feel her legs.
Hein says she spoke to him on the phone Sunday and remains optimistic despite the horror she went through.
"She said, 'Well son, I know that I can't move my legs, I just can't feel them. But I'm still alive so I'm feeling great,'" Hein said in an interview.
"'I'm aware I'll never walk again and I'm aware that I'll be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life, but son, I'm still breathing and I'm still alive and I've got family that love me.'"
The train was able to stop in time, but Meichl was seriously injured and taken to hospital in life-threatening condition.
A suspect was taken into custody by a transit officer. Police believe the attack was random and unprovoked.
Hein says his mother and a friend were planning to return home on the train that day after taking in some horse racing. She was being followed and harassed by someone who was clearly intoxicated or on drugs, he says, and his mother finally told them to leave her and her friend alone.
They thought that was the end of it, and as a train approached, a recorded announcement warned people to stand behind the yellow line at the edge of the platform. His mother's friend looked up the tracks to see if it was their train, and Hein says the friend looked back in time to see Meichl get "two-arm pushed" off the platform and onto the tracks.
Hein was at the gym when his sister called, bawling, and told him their mother was at Foothills Hospital. Doctors told them that evening that she likely wouldn't live.
Meichl hasn't had an easy life. She's had mobility issues due to a spinal condition that developed in her 20s and prevented her from working, and she raised two kids as a single mother.
Despite her difficulties, Hein says his mother found time to volunteer and fundraise for charities.
"Mum always did the best with what she had," Hein said.
A GoFundMe page, set up by Hein's ex-wife, is helping raise funds to assist Meichl with her rehabilitation and living arrangements after she leaves hospital, which Hein says doctors believe is at least four months away.
Hein says the generosity has helped restore his faith in Calgarians.
"I know that life isn't fair, but my mum is a great human being and has done nothing but provide care and compassion for those that are in her life."
Stephanie Favel, who is 35, is charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and breach of probation.
—By Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton
Find the GoFundMe like at https://www.gofundme.com/support-rose039s-road-to-recovery
The Canadian Press