The Last Ride
I was the Hospice Direct Service volunteer assigned to visit Barry Glass when he entered our program. My job was to provide companionship to both the patient and his wife, even if just for a little emotional support. I soon learned that instead of a terminal diagnosis leaving Barry bitter, it spurred him on to be of even greater service to others.
He participated in as many activities as he could—and with a great attitude. He told me he was particularly proud of his occupation as a tow-truck driver. I was thrilled when he shared,“Do you know how I am going to take my last ride? Not in a hearse, but on the back of a tow truck.And my fellow drivers will be my honorary pallbearers!”
At Barry’s visitation and funeral, it was obvious how many lives he had touched. The line of people at his visitation stretched far into the hallway, and tow truck drivers from all over Maryland and Pennsylvania were at the funeral—with their trucks—to honor the life of their colleague and friend.
Many of the attendees wore yellow, which was Barry’s favorite color.Upon Barry’s death, his friend and employer had Barry’s own truck inscribed “In memory of Barry,”along with the dates of his birth and his death. Barry’s coworkers gently placed the casket in the middle of the rollback, amidst black bunting. Yellow flowers from his devoted family covered the casket.
Barry’s final ride was ready to begin. I watched as at least two dozen tow trucks honored Barry by leading him to the cemetery, where two trucks formed an entry arch under which everyone passed.
I feel honored to have met such a wonderful person as Barry and to have witnessed such an incredible amount of respect shown by his loved ones, friends and strangers alike