5 Questions with…
Morris Fudge is one of the longest serving bus drivers at Diversified. Although he may sound a bit growly at first, getting to know him is a delight. He has a wicked sense of absurdist humour that masks a serious attitude to his job and a safety record he has every reason to be proud of. And he doesn’t beat about the bush.
You’ve been here a bit, haven’t you?
31 years. When we first came from Brighton in Newfoundland we thought we were in the big city because it had 25,000 people, and a McDonald’s. It’s grown some since then.
Fort McMurray has become your home. Your kids were born here and you’ve worked with Diversified for over a quarter of a century. Have they been good to work for?
If I didn’t like working for them I wouldn’t have stayed with them for 26 years. When my house burned down and we had nothing, the company and my friends at work and at the Teamsters local 382 rallied round and helped us out. I’ll never forget that. So yes, they’ve been good to me. Mind you, I’ve been good for them as well.
Your route out to Firebag is the longest regular route by bus in Fort McMurray, two hours each way on roads that are challenging to say the least. Do you have advice for drivers with less experience?
You can see and hear all kinds of things at driver’s education and safety courses, and I’ve probably heard most of it over the years. Mostly it comes down to three words: respect the road. What I mean is drive as the conditions allow, as the traffic allows, as the road quality allows, as the weather allows. Respect the road.
Bus drivers care for their passengers. They have to; it’s the reason for their job. Is there anything you’d like to say to them on behalf of your colleagues?
We do care, because we take pride in our work. All we ask is you be courteous to the other people on the bus and to your driver. We’ll get you home safe.
And what’s in the future?
I’m still young enough and I like my job. Fort McMurray’s been good to me, so’s the company. I plan on hanging around a bit still. I must have done about 800,000 kilometres in 26 years, I might hang about for the million.
Morris Fudge can be found on the Suncor Firebag bus or in Gregoire relaxing with his family. If you ever get a chance, talk to him. He has the relaxed down-home friendliness of his home province, a voice that sounds like Jack Daniels, and a love of the open road, which he respects intimately. Plus he’ll get you home safe. He always does.