Big Chuck Remembers His Dad’s 1968 Battle With Greyhound Bus Co.
I love this story.
In September of 1967 I left Sidney for college, Albany Business College. This was long before I-88 was in existence. The only route was old NY Rt. 7, and I didn’t have a car. I can’t tell you how many times I “rode my thumb” to Albany along that winding, frustrating road. Of course sometimes I needed a bus as I would be carrying stuff with me, like laundry, food or other bulky items. That is when I took the bus.
The Greyhound Bus would stop in Sidney late Sunday night in front of Rexall’s Drug Store and pick up the few customers going towards Albany. I remember that the bus was pretty unreliable about times, and I also remember that on several occasions I would be the only one getting on board.
One time, in December of 1967 the bus actually just blew by Sidney and kept going. My Dad saw this and he ran up to Rexall’s from his grocery store and told me and a few other students to hop in and he would try and catch it in Oneonta when it made the stop there.
There were four students in the car with me. We hurried along as fast as Dad could go to get behind the bus and then followed it all the way to the terminal in Oneonta. When we got there my Dad got out and gave the driver a piece of his mind. The driver was unsympathetic and said he was sorry but he thought nobody was waiting for the bus in Sidney. My father was furious and wanted a full refund for his prepaid ticket for me to get to Albany. The driver told Dad to contact Greyhound headquarters with his complaint. Me and the other three students clambered aboard the bus and hunkered down for the rest of the three hour drive up Rt. 7.
Needless to say, my father was furious and he went home and proceeded to address his frustration with Greyhound headquarters in Binghamton. He calculated how much it cost him in time, gas and extras to take 4 prepaid students in his own car up Rt. 7 to Oneonta in the dead of winter. He sent off an angry left and a bill for his expenses: $5.70.
And he won!
Here is a copy of the letter Dad received from the C. J. Bronston, Vice-President of Greyhound in Cleveland, Ohio, dated January 3, 1968. I just found it. I don’t know how Dad found out any of these connections as to who to write (many years before Google and the internet). But he did somehow and I am sure he smiled with pride when a check made out to him for $5.70 arrived at our home.
Of course, he never cashed it.
That was my Dad.
And thanks to Greyhound for some corporate “good will.”