An auto service chain issued a public apology after employees were said to have made rude gestures to truck drivers who were paying their respects to an eight-year-old Nanaimo boy who died this month.
More than 100 big-rig trucks were downtown on Sunday afternoon as part of a convoy paying tribute to Linden Baglo, who was struck and killed by a pickup truck while riding his bike in Nanaimo on Jan. 6.
Convoy organizer Pete Fry said as the trucks passed the Mr. Lube location on Terminal Avenue on Sunday, “all the staff was outside” giving the middle finger and yelling at the truckers. Fry said he later heard that the employees thought the convoy was some sort of pipeline rally or protest, but “if you don’t know what it is, why would you do that, especially in your uniform?”
He said seeing that “hit hard” to a lot of the truckers.
“Especially in a community that our brother, a driver, lives in, and that little boy Linden [lived in]. We’re supporting that family and for them to do that was very distasteful and very disrespectful.”
In a letter posted to social media Monday, Mr. Lube president and CEO Stuart Suls referenced “an alarming and disheartening event” outside the Nanaimo location Sunday.
“We would like to express our deepest apologies to the Nanaimo community, family members and friends of Linden Baglo; we will be doing whatever we can to make things right,” the letter noted.
The letter went on to advise that the employees involved have been suspended.
“We are very disappointed in the actions of these individuals and in no way does this represent Mr. Lube and our core values. Furthermore, there will be mandatory training on Mr. Lube employee standards for any Nanaimo employees that were not involved in this incident to ensure nothing like this happens again.”
The convoy was otherwise well-received, Fry said, and well-supported, as he hadn’t expected more than 15-20 trucks initially and the final count was 113. Fry said Linden Baglo’s stepfather was so moved that he nearly fell to his knees.
“People thought it was a touching thing. Knowing that someone wanted to give support to a family, I think they just thought, it’s for a good cause and people just wanted to stick together,” Fry said. “[Truck drivers] do have hearts and we’re not the kind of mean people that people think we are sometimes.”