Peggy Fergusson has seen some wild things during her time working for public transit in B.C.
The Langley native has attended multiple accident scenes and escorted intoxicated individuals off of buses during her years working as a service delivery manager in the Lower Mainland and here in Prince Rupert.
But whether it is helping make life easier for her bus drivers in a big city, or providing a simple act of service for an elderly Prince Rupert resident, the actions Robinson takes can make a big impact, even if she doesn’t want to take the credit.
Fergusson began her career as a Handy Dart dispatcher before working her way up into the support role she now occupies.
“We have higher training than drivers and we deal with things we don’t want our drivers to have to deal with,” she said.
The life of a service delivery manager in southern B.C. was never boring. Fergusson said one of her most interesting calls involved assisting a driver who was dealing with three passengers who had been smoking crystal meth.
“They had no problem thinking it was a perfectly appropriate thing to do sitting there smoking at the back of the bus,” Fergusson said. “It just never dawned on me that somebody would do something like that.”
Despite the fact that the passengers were high, Fergusson escorted them off the bus safely in an area of town where they would be able to find their way.
“You don’t leave people stranded in the middle of nowhere,” she said.
After working in the Lower Mainland for more than 13 years, the desire for a new challenge and the opportunity for growth brought Fergusson to Prince Rupert, a place she didn’t know much about before her move. She saw the job posting for a management position in Prince Rupert at Pacific Western Transportation, and despite the distance from her family and difficult logistics, decided to take a chance and move to the northwest in June.
Her arrival in Prince Rupert, like so many others who come to the city for the first time, came with a bit of a culture shock. Fergusson said she wasn’t used to stores closing as early as they did.
“It was definitely a bit of an adjustment for me not having the shopping that I’m used to or the hours that they have here,” she said.
However, it didn’t take long for the small town community and charm to appeal to Fergusson. In one of her first days in the city, she said she went to Home Hardware to pick up some supplies for her apartment. Fergusson was welcomed immediately.
“The attendants asked me who I was and where I was from because they didn’t recognize me,” she said. “I told them I had literally just arrived and they said ‘Well if you need anything just let us know.’ Everyone in town has been like that to me since I arrived.”
This warm and inviting atmosphere is why Fergusson did not think twice when she learned about a senior who had accidentally left her cane behind when getting off one of the city’s busses.
The bus driver brought the cane into Fergusson’s office, explained what happened and said there was a name and number on the cane.
Fergusson called the number and learned that the cane belonged to Mrs. Breaks, a residents in her nineties who still uses public transit to get to her appointments. While still independent, Breaks’s hearing has declined, and was not able to hear Fergusson’s phone calls and so the two were unable to connect immediately.
The next day, Fergusson received a call from Marie Cox-Rogers, Breaks’s neighbour, who confirmed that Breaks was indeed missing a cane, and the two arranged a time for Fergusson to return it.
“I told them I would be in that area anyway so I could drop it off during my lunch break,” Fergusson said.
After meeting Breaks and learning about how she gets around town — she still walks almost 100 metres from her home to the bus stop every day — Fergusson set the wheels in motion to have Handy Dart service provided for Breaks so her daily trips are not as strenuous.
While Fergusson shies away from receiving praise for what she did, Cox-Rogers said it was a level of service that really meant a lot to her.
“She deserves a lot of credit and it meant a lot to our neighbour who relies on the cane to get out and about,” she said.
For Fergusson, however, it was just part of her job and passing along the kindness she had already experienced in Prince Rupert.
“I don’t think doing something like returning somebody’s cane is any different to what anybody else would have done based on the people I’ve met here in Prince Rupert,” Robinson said. “I don’t think doing things like that is anything special.”