Second Chance To Show Bermudian Hospitality

May 21, 2015

Bermuda got a second chance to replace a bad memory with a cherished one, as Mrs Jeannette Carey — a visitor who had a bad experience in 2011 — is presently enjoying another vacation on the island compliments of the Bermuda Tourism Authority.

Back in 2011 Mrs Carey, who was in a wheelchair due to a health issue, was told by a bus operator to leave a bus, with the bus driver apparently telling her they do not take people in wheelchairs.

In recounting the story in 2011, Mrs Carey said she and her husband got on the bus, and her husband folded up her wheelchair. She said she was then told to get off the bus, the driver went so far as to remove his keys and turn off the bus, and to make matters worse, another passenger actually yelled at her to get off the bus.

When then-Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert found out about the incident he was very disturbed by it, and personally contacted Mrs Carey to apologize on behalf of the people of Bermuda, and promised the Careys a return visit to Bermuda.

That return visit happened this week, with Mrs Carey’s health having improved to the point that she is able to enjoy this visit without a wheelchair.

Mrs Carey, seated on left, enjoying breakfast at Elbow with her husband and BTA staff yesterday

Lido for BTA (3)

Bernews published a story about Mrs Carey’s unfortunate experience back in 2011, and over the years has exchanged emails with Mrs Carey, as has former Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert and the BTA staff.

Bermuda Tourism Authority CEO Bill Hanbury followed up to make good on the promise made by the former Minister, and the BTA’s Jill Dill has handled all the arrangements for this return trip, aiming to ensure that the Careys get to enjoy a great time.

Mrs Carey said her health has improved significantly over the past few years and she is able to enjoy her return visit without a wheelchair.

She is not as mobile as she would like but she and her husband William said that so far this week, they have already enjoyed a visit to Crystal Caves, a fishing excursion, and snorkelling, and yesterday they said they plan to try scuba diving.

The Carey’s enjoying breakfast with BTA staff yesterday, with the breakfast courtesy of Elbow Beach

Lido for BTA (4)

The BTA covered the Carey’s airfare, a dinner, a taxi tour and airport transfers, while the Elbow Beach Resort provided accommodations over four nights and hosted a breakfast for the couple and the BTA this morning.

Mrs Carey said she was grateful for Mr Furbert’s contacting her after the initial incident back in 2011, and on behalf of the BTA, Glenn Jones called MP Furbert to relay the couple’s gratitude.

In response to the news that Mrs Carey was back on the island, Mr Furbert said, “We are very happy to hear the the BTA has lived up to a promise I made to Ms. Carey four years ago.

“It is important for good public relations and building confidence that Bermuda will treat you well, that we do these types of things. It goes a long way as she spreads the news about Bermuda.

“We understand that her health has improved since then and she has been able to enjoy her visit even more,” said Mr Furbert.

Mrs Carey’s birthday was a few days ago so the visit to Bermuda is also a birthday celebration, and Mrs Carey said that during this visit people who have no way of knowing of her bad experience the first time have been incredibly hospitable and very welcoming.

Following the incident with Mrs Carey in 2011, the Government disseminated a memo to all bus operators, supervisors and managers which stated that all operators must allow passengers with collapsible wheelchairs access on the bus.

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Comments (27)

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  1. Yes I says:

    Great uplifting story. Tourism is what we have to offer so a second chance is invaluable.

    • Mockingjay says:

      United States should learn from this, free trips would be rolling.

      • nonya says:

        what does that have to do with the U.S

      • Val Dickerson says:

        Busses in the US are wheelchair accessible.
        At least in New Jersey and in New York. Hope the driver was reprimanded if not terminated. It doesn’t take much to be kind. If you dislike serving the public, time to find a job that doesn’t entail interacting with people.
        .

  2. Xaxa says:

    This is what happens when we put aside differences and put Bermuda first. Well done to all, and I hope she has a wonderful holiday in Bermuda this time around.

  3. It’s stories such as this one that helps to make Bermuda another world. Thanks to everyone that had played a role in making the couples return visit more pleasant and memorable.

    • Mockingjay says:

      Surprised you and your circle didnt call him flip flop.
      Thats good to hear.
      Hope I have an experience like that when I go to the States.

      • Terry says:

        Wayne is a good man.

        We all have our moments in life even you Jay.

        “flip flop” ?

        I have called him that years ago but he sure as hell delivered on his word and that’s all that matters to me.

        Shalom.

  4. LiarLiar says:

    Why wasn’t the driver fired?

    • enough says:

      because he belongs to the union and we all know they can do as they please and still keep their jobs.

    • brigadooner says:

      ha.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      His pay should be deducted to pay for the trip. Did he get anything at all other than maybe a verbal rap on the knuckles?

  5. Family Man says:

    Nice to see them back. Hopefully they will leave with a better impression.

    In the meantime, that bus driver is still enjoying 6 weeks paid holiday and 14 weeks ‘sick leave’ every year, thanks to our taxes.

    • cherri says:

      Why do people keep saying thanks to our taxes like government workers don’t pay the exact same taxes? So basically they are Paying Themselves, right? It’s not just non government workers who pay taxes. And why are we calling for people to be fired over one offense? The driver should be reprimanded but firing is harsh for this type of offense.
      But I’m guessing this would have been a good time to have a wheelchair accessible bus, I guess Dr Brown got something right for us by bringing some in.

      • Casual Observer says:

        The pay taxes out of taxes.

        Thus they generate no new taxes for the Government coffers.

      • No, Dr. Ewart Browns ingenious idea of wheelchair accessible buses were not good for the daily bus routes because most bus stops are far too close to the walls and these buses require a specific amount of space to lower the ramp for the passenger in a wheelchair to board the bus. They maybe good for charters but not daily services to and fro around the Island…By the way, I am a member of the Bda. Stroke Association and have heard from many people who are wheelchair restricted them not being able to travel by public buses due to this particular problem :-(

        • LaVerne Furbert says:

          Raymond Ray, you are a member of the Bda. Stroke Association, yet you criticise the idea of having wheelchair accessible buses.

      • Family Man says:

        Math is not your strong suit is it?

  6. WhistleBlower says:

    Welcome back folks I hope this trip is one of your best vacations ever!!! If I come into contact with you my hope is that I too can share the BERMUDA HOSPITALITY!!

  7. cristian says:

    That”s customer service.
    Bravo.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      No, it is not customer service. It is making ammends to the customer for bad service, something we see little of in Bermuda.

  8. Curious says:

    Whereas i am happy that they were able to get a “do over”, WHY is it that we are so much nicer and willing to believe when it comes to TOURISTS? Have many forgotten that just last month there was the issue about the young mother who was spoken to in a disrespectful manner, and refused service because she had her double stroller? she was told to purchase something different? So many locals were willing to chastize and condemn her, even to the point of basically saying if she can’t afford transportation, she shouldn’t have had the children (yes, i am serious). WHY was she not given a public apology? Why was she ripped to shreds for just trying to get her children to school? Are we that insensitive that we care more about tourists than our own? come on now. All this red carpet treatment for a visitor…i bet that young lady is reading this and is like hmph.

    • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

      I’m afraid you don’t have the full story.

      The woman was not spoken to in a disrespectful manner, and she was not refused service, in fact the bus driver helped her get on the bus with stroller.

      He simply explained to her that some bus drivers wouldn’t allow her on the bus with the stroller she had. And that it would be easier for her if she had a smaller stroller. She was the one who took it badly, sometimes trying to deal with children can put you in a short temper. It happens.

  9. Loquat tree says:

    Resend the Memo to all the bus operators>

  10. filobedo21 says:

    Now can we give the bus operators some real training in hospitality; and what about a test of some sort that would help to not hire this type of person from the get go. Well done BTA.

  11. somuchless says:

    On the other hand, speaking of bus drivers what ever happened to the bus driver that crashed the bus outside of great things?