Thursday night, we head to the metro to go to a music festival downtown. The plan is to meet Barbara, the newest liaison, at the next metro stop and then head to Republic Square. I call Barbara and tell her we are at the metro and will be at her stop in about 5 minutes. We never make it.
The Soviets built the metro - it is old, clean, cheap ($.14)and is the usual way we travel downtown so the kids have been on it countless times. The escalators are very fast and very steep. A person - usually a woman - sits in a glass booth at the top and bottom of the escalators and watch people all day long go up and down.
Austin was doing his normal figeting and trying to tell me sometime. As I move closer and about to tell him to move his foot away from the side of the escalator, the heel of his tennis shoe gets caught between the bottom of the step and the side of the wall. He starts whining and trying to get his foot out. I try and when it doesn't budge, I have flashes of the steps crushing his ankle as it flattens and start screaming (in English) STOP! STOP! and waving my arms. When the escalator keeps going, Madisen starts running down the escalator to bang on the glass booths.
It stops. Scores of men start running to us, I point to Austin's foot, and start explaining in English. Luckily, it was pretty obvious what was going on. Austin is crying and scared; Cole Ryan and Madisen are scared, but are quiet and let me try to calm Austin who is feeling his foot being tugged out of the huge steel jaws. The metro men pull out a couple of crow bars, untie his shoe, and then work his foot out. It hurts him, but it is not serious. One man picks Austin up like a baby (a 55-60 pound baby) and starts running up the other escalator and motions for us to follow. Austin is placed in an office, given water, ice, and a fan, and then the questions start. I try to call Armine but the cell phone doesn't work and the phone sitting on the desk apparently doesn't make outside calls. The main guy eventually goes outside. Turns out that the man is afraid that I will file some kind of report against them. By that time, I was so grateful that my son's foot was not crushed and was only bruised, everyone had reacted quickly, that filing a report or a lawsuit was beyond my comprehension. He insists that Austin go to the clinic and we hear sirens in the background.
The next adventure: ambulence ride through Yerevan. Austin is placed on a stretcher and the three of us sit next to him with the nurse at his head. There are no seatbelts, no signs of first aid other than the stretcher that Austin is lying on, the driver is smoking, and the van is dirty. It was a far cry from the ambulence that Cole was in when he bashed his head on the side of the pool last year. After the ambulence almost rammed into a car a couple of times, we arrive at the hospital. They put Austin in a wheelchair and we follow him into a room. A really nice young doctor comes in, speaks some English, and asks Austin if he can walk. Austin gets up and walks awkwardly, but is fine. The doctor tells us to go home.
Austin decides that he doesn't want to go home, but wants to go to the musical festival instead. After a quick jaunt to check out the music - with Austin walking a bit and then getting a piggy back ride from me - we go home - by taxi.
Follow up: we rode the metro 2 days later and Austin is very, very aware of where his feet are on the steps. And he didn't have flashbacks.