More than 150 Greyhound Canada employees came to Penticton this long weekend to celebrate both the friendships and memories they made as former employees of the company.
“It’s a chance to get back together with our friends,” said Kelly Arneson, who had been a driver, dispatcher and depot agent for Greyhound for 33 years at a banquet dinner at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre on Saturday.
“We’ll get to share our fond memories, our bad memories and really just get to have a good time and get some closure.”
Recent retirees who used to work for the company in Western Canada were joined by friends and members of the Greyhound Canada family who had been with the company for decades — some since the 1950s.
The party was an opportunity for many to meet up with the coworkers and friends they had met on their routes. People came from as close as Kelowna and as far as Vancouver Island and Edmonton.
For Lynda Verrier, the company was literally her family, with her father, husband, daughter and herself all working for Greyhound. Verrier operated Penticton’s Greyhound depot from 1985 until the day it closed last October.
“I got to work with my dad, both my brothers, my daughter, my son, and my niece, and my husband too,” said Verrier. “We’re very proud of that. Everyone here has always been our family; our friends and our family. I’ve known most of them since I’ve been there. This is going to be a decent ending point, I think, so let’s dance and spend time with old friends.”
Ann Meacham, a driver for 26 years with Greyhound, organized the party. She raised the money for the final get together, originally intended for her own retirement party, and put out the call for every employee that could to come to Penticton and celebrate.
“I was told two-and-a-half years ago that Greyhound wasn’t going to give us any more money for retirement parties, and I figured that mine was probably going to be the next one,” Meacham said.
“So I started collecting bottles off of buses from agents and drivers, then all of a sudden we got told that everything was ending, and so that’s when I decided it had to be a whole weekend so people could come from a distance and have lots of time to visit.”
The feeling of family is one that was echoed by many of the drivers that night, and the connections between them will last long after they said farewell.
“The motto that this weekend is all about is that Greyhound may take our jobs but they will never take our friendships,” Meacham said.
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