To one Florentine resident, the streets of Merritt are a far cry from the bustling streets of Montreal that he used to navigate.
Lou Budd, 85, moved to Merritt about 12 years ago with his wife to live closer to his son, who resides in the Bench area.
Budd’s calm and grateful attitude makes him an easy fit in the Florentine, where he and his wife recently moved from Parkview, on his son’s suggestion.
“I love it here,” Budd said, relaxing in his favourite armchair. “It’s peaceful; it’s quiet. We’re still moving in, actually.”
His first 10 years as a bus driver were presumably anything but peaceful and quiet in Montreal, when Budd worked double shifts to buy a triplex for himself and his wife.
He said that hard work paid off towards the end of his 35-year career.
“I ended up being the No. 1 man there. I had the choice of any line I wanted to take, and I took the line up the boul. Saint-Laurent,” he said.
“They called it the church line. I had a ball there because if somebody was late and they were running down the stairs, I’d wait for them. That was my nature. I always waited for everybody.”
Again, Budd saw the benefits of his easy-going attitude and hard work.
“Near the end, I got gifts at Christmas time,” he said. “I didn’t expect that.”
In his early 40s, Budd worked in the Canadian Forces reserves in the evenings after his long days driving the bus. Though it added to already long hours, Budd said it was an easy decision.
“A friend of mine living not far from me and his father said, ‘Let’s all go down to the reserve army and join up there,’ so that’s what we did,” he said. “It wasn’t hard because I had two friends to go besides myself.”
He fondly remembers working with the Royal Canadian Hussars in the sergeants’ mess hall.
“I loved the 6th Hussars,” he said. “I was in the sergeants’ mess helping them make meals. I didn’t expect any money, but I got paid. Let’s put it this way: it didn’t hurt.”
In the reserves, as in his bus driving, Budd excelled.
“I liked it when I was working in the sergeants’ mess,” he said. “They picked me out of a lineup of soldiers in the reserve army to help cook.”
Budd, who will celebrate his 86th birthday next month, said he feels grateful for all the experiences he has had.
“I’ve had a very good life,” he said. “I can’t complain about anything at all.”