Seniors had experience crossing the border

The author of the “No sympathy for delayed seniors” letter in the April 22 Chilliwack Progress needs to do a serious personal values check.

The author of the “No sympathy for delayed seniors” letter in the April 22 Chilliwack Progress needs to do a serious personal values check.

In his letter he:

• berates senior for acting like spoiled children

• claims that they are on a fixed income (How would he know about their income?)

• blames the 85-year-old for having a medical emergency

• presumes that these seniors are ignorant of normal border crossing procedures

• suggests ulterior motives for their complaint (ie. gambling losses)

• suggests that if the bus had been heading south the 911 call would have been a fiasco

• claims that the passengers could not have been told that they could be arrested as they claim no border guard spoke to them.

All of these points indicate not only that he has some serious value flaws, but that he is ignorant of the facts of the matter.

Here are some of those facts:

• These seniors travel to the United States – and across that same border – routinely and are fully aware of the normal border crossing process, filling out the required forms in advance and having the bus driver take them to the customs office – a process normally taking about 10 minutes.

• They crossed this border at the same time they normally cross – not particularly ‘peak time’. There were no lineups in evidence at this time.

• The 85-year-old in distress had a minor heart attack after the bus (and its air conditioning) had been turned off at the border guard’s insistence, and was subsequently hospitalized for six days.

• I was the one who called 911 and have frequently dealt with people in medical distress in my previous occupation. It was clear that his person needed medical assistance and I would have called 911 no matter which direction the bus was headed.

• It was the bus driver who told the passengers that the border guard had advised that they could be arrested.

• None of the seniors lost their ‘life savings’ or had any ulterior motive for being upset, other than the treatment they received at the crossing.

I trust the writer of that egregious letter takes a moment to reflect on the distress caused to this group of seniors – not just by the crossing but by this letter.

We all understand that border guards have an important job to do that I’m sure can be stressful at times. That does not excuse them for performing their duties in a professional manner that is respectful of the citizens that employ them.

Rodney Philippson