I have a story about the Pemho. The one and only “bar” in town. Affectionately (maybe?) coined the ‘Pemho’ after the Pemberton Hotel and the wit that comes about after a few beers. Almost everyone has their own story about one time or another, at the Pemho.
I may have stretched the truth to get my job – I had never bartended in my life. I’d never even worked in a kitchen or restaurant. I don’t even really like to drink. But I wanted something fun to do when I wasn’t taking photos or teaching. I needed an outlet, and an opportunity to meet some new people. So with a promise to learn quickly, and to at least show up for my shift, I got the job! (Thaaank you Google!)
There have been some pretty hard moments since I’ve started there. I have called 911 more times than I ever imagined in my lifetime. I have witnessed customers’ tempers go from 0 to 60 in seconds. I’ve definitely been disrespected, insulted, and verbally threatened on numerous occasions. I’ve cried in the beer cooler. Apparently, a “side of waitress” is an unlisted item on our menu?
But this isn’t meant to be a vent. This is actually meant to be my tribute to the amazing souls that I’ve met through this job. God, there are some amazing people in this town. People that stick up for me, and my staff. People that come in with the best energy, lighten up the place, and dance away all their worries. Tears of joy, tears of sorrow, and the vulnerabilities that are shared with me, is heart wrenchingly pure. Customers that help us pack tables down a flight of stairs to set up for concerts, bring us dinner when we’ve forgotten ours at home, and even clear tables when we’re overwhelmed. I’ve never had to close up alone at 2am, because someone always stays to walk me to my truck.
There is one man, in particular, that I want to recognize. I won’t write his name, because I don’t think he wants the attention – but I want to share his story. This older gentleman comes to the Pemho about 4-5 nights a week, drinks a gingerale, and plays pool. Do you know why? Because he wants to offer safe rides home. He gives customers that have been drinking, rides home to New Site, D’Arcy, Mt Currie or way up the valley, for nothing more than a donation. Every. Single. Weekend. It doesn’t matter where you live – after he’s finished sharking you at pool – he’ll give you a ride home.
Why is this so great? Because our town doesn’t cater to people after they’re done partying. I have personally witnessed, on more than one occasion, a taxi driver refuse to drive people home because “they are too drunk”. And that’s only IF the taxi is operating after 10pm and you can get through on the phone. Then you have people stranded 10, maybe 20 kms away from their homes. There’s no public transit, no public ride share, nowhere to sleep, and not even a business that’s open to stay warm until everyone wakes up. I have even driven an hour out of my way to get people home at 3am, and let others sleep on my couch. I have called 911 and reported more than enough people attempting to drive home drunk – and can you kind of see how they come to that decision, despite being completely irresponsible? When people like the gentleman I mentioned earlier, take the initiative to get people home safely, I can’t help but sing their praises all through the valley.
So, cheers, to all the wonderful, thoughtful people that I continue to meet at the Pemho. Despite our current flaws, people are celebrating, singing, dancing, AND getting home safely. May your selflessness, unabashed affection, and plain ol’ awesomeness remain strong – you are appreciated more than you know.