In the last Quarterly DW Simpson newsletter, I extolled the career benefits of working in the cutting-edge and dynamic (re)insurance market of Bermuda. And while the crux of this Quarterly newsletter is focused on navigating a career move to Bermuda, my column will speak to one of the island’s treasures outside of the vibrant (re)insurance industry. And that treasure is 88-year-old Johnny Barnes. Johnny Barnes is a retired bus driver who, every Monday through Friday morning, still is active with the majority of commuters filing into Hamilton, the (re)insurance business hub and Bermuda’s primary city.
Today, instead of driving these commuters on his bus, Johnny welcomes them to Hamilton with his heart. Every morning, as early as 4:00 am, Johnny stands on the Foot of the Lane traffic roundabout on the eastern edge of town for six hours, waving and blowing kisses to the parade of commuters on scooters, on bicycles and in cars. He also tells them that he loves them. It’s a remarkable sight and experience, really.
I usually go for a run early in the morning along the mile-and-a-half stretch of Front Street that leads from the Fairmont Princess hotel to Johnny’s perch at the edge of town, where there also is a full-size bronze statue in his honor. Johnny always is smiling, waving, blowing kisses…and sharing his love. It’s really a nice start to the day.