French Canadien in Gastown

1967 – 1979 Scandinavian Imports Ltd. in Gastown. I was young. Successful at times. Twenty five, had furniture stores in Gastown, Victoria, Guildford, Kelowna and Kamloops. Twenty-five employes, most of them dedicated. Leo, a retired French Canadian, run the warehouse and organized the delivery trucks. He liked to start very early, and by the time his crew came to work everything was ready to go.

This young, skinny, sad looking fellow from Quebec, got a job, because he asked. It looked as he needed it. All was fine, for several weeks. I kind of knew that the name he gave us, was not his real name, but he was honest in his work with us.

When I got to work this morning, Leo was yelling at everybody. This kid had not showed up for work, one delivery truck was still at the read delivery dock, idle, customers waiting. With some switching of crew we got the truck out on the road. The kid showed up an hour late.

I had told Margaret, the accountant, that if he came in, he was fired, and she had his pay in an envelope, in cash, ready to go. He told her a sad story, took his envelope and left.

My counsince have been bothered ever since. I could never get in touch with him and say that I was sorry. Sure, he had used a false name, but, I was to regret for ever.  The story he told Margaret,  was that his older brother was killed that night in a hit and run accident. He spent all night at the hospital, then later at the City Morge, then later trying to contact his parents in Quebec, to tell them.

Then he hurried to get to work. He was an hour late, and I had let him go, without ever hearing his side of the story. Forgive me son,  I am really sorry !

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