GoBus snag leaves man’s dreams waiting on the bus stop

Letter to the Editor/March 31, 2023

I am a 55-year-old man with primary progressive multiple sclerosis for the past 25 plus years. I was a lucky individual, though, and I’m still here. I worked as a sound engineer/designer for a Broadway sound and video rental company for 20 years before ending on permanent disability. I was involved in many shows and installations and felt I was on top of my game when it finally came crashing down.

My wife was born and raised here in St. John’s, Newfoundland. After 15 years of her living in the ‘States with me and my early retirement from the IATSE stagehands union Local One, on August 1, 2016, we moved back to Newfoundland to finish our days playing with our grandkids and spending time with family. I still feel that I’m still young enough to pass on some of my experiences in the local community. I spent some time planning on starting a business over the past few years and have been working with MusicNL’s CEO Rhonda Tulk-Lane on this project. This past Thursday (March 16) was the perfect networking opportunity because MusicNL was hosting a benefit fundraiser for the local food bank. This was for a good cause, and the stars aligned for a person like me, and I had the perfect opportunity to network with Alan Doyle, Kelly McMichael, Rachel Cousins, and Nick Earl. All potential clients who could help launch my vision to fruition. Two years of working and planning on my baby unicorn on my own were about to see the light of day! I was excited that this time had finally arrived.

I planned several days with GoBus to get me to the show on Thursday night, then pick me up Friday morning for a meeting with Rhonda to discuss moving forward after the evening’s festivities. But, on Thursday, GoBus told me they had problems getting me picked up. I told them how important this evening was for me, and I didn’t care when I got there just as long as I did. Long story short, no one would come to contact me. My meeting for Friday was cancelled because there wasn’t anything to discuss. I told GoBus the cost of the tickets, sent a receipt with my $100 donation, and told them I expected them to match my donation and compensate MusicNL for the tickets. But would this be considered adequate compensation?

Two years of work continue to be put on hold, and who knows when the next time the stars will align to share my idea with others in this business. I don’t know who to contact or who can fix this problem without getting the local community, politicians and others who have also been put in similar situations because of the lack of transportation for people stuck in a wheelchair (or whatever) who must rely on others to help them feel worthwhile. Having a disability doesn’t mean we don’t still have abilities. We rely on the help of our caregivers to help us feel valuable. That we still can make a difference. It takes a lot of work to get dressed and move on to my chair. My MS is moving on, and I can do nothing about that, but I still have 25 plus years of experience that I want to pass on to the next generations coming up. That window is almost shut for me now, and I don’t know what to do. Who’s to blame? At the least, the local food bank must be cared for! Can you give me a few pointers on what I should do for my next steps? 

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing back from you.

Warmest regards,

Larry Roberts

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