The last call for Buses & Beer will be on Dec. 22 – although a reunion is planned for Feb. 23, the first evening of the UMA Motorcoach EXPO in Long Beach, California. (Attendees are asked to wear their Buses and Beer shirts to the gathering.)
“It’s run its course. I want to go out on a high note,” said Jeff Goldwasser, the creator and host of the popular Wednesday evening Zoom calls. “I think the call has helped many, many people in the industry on the operator side and the vendor side, but more importantly on the operator side. It’s given people a lot of connections and friendships, along with a lot of laughs and a lot of tears and a lot of surprises and a lot of insight.”
Goldwasser, the East Coast sales representative for Amaya Seating, began the calls in spring 2020 as a way to bring people together as the pandemic essentially shut down their businesses. The virtual bar night quickly became a way for motorcoach operators and vendors from coast to coast and Canada to connect on a personal level, sharing what they were going through and offering support to each other.
Over the summer, the weekly calls shifted to monthly. Goldwasser called the new schedule a good sign for the industry that people were getting busy with work and life.
Buses & Beer highlights
The final call will be the 66th virtual gathering for the informal industry group. Bus & Motorcoach News asked Goldwasser to share his favorite highlights of what will be remembered as a silver lining of the pandemic. His reply:
1. Hope: “When an operator told me that the call saved his life and gave him hope, because he was on the end of his stick and was thinking of ending his life. He realized he wasn’t alone in the business with what he was going through. He decided to go out and make a difference in the lives of others who were also suffering by donating food to a food pantry and things like that.”
2. Support: “On the all-women call, when one woman literally broke down and she saw everyone come to her aid with support. She said she felt like her family and others didn’t understand what she was going through. But everyone on the call did. They just gathered around her emotionally, which was really cool to see.”
3. Community: “Seeing the camaraderie and the community we created on Facebook when people were getting together with shows, and they were taking pictures together. The calls really bonded people because they were sending me pictures with the Buses & Beer T-shirts we gave away, along with gifts like bobbleheads of me and signs. It was an indication that people were really thankful for the calls.”