One man's battle to fix his tiny town's only payphone finally paid out on Monday, February 24, when giant telecom company Telus vowed to take on the task. "Old Bob" lives in Rosswood, a rural town in Northern B.C. with no cell service along the highway. After meeting the then-campaigning M.P. Taylor Bachrach, the aspiring representative took the duty of advocating to get the payphone fixed. Now, finally, Telus promised to fix the remote B.C. payphone.
"We are investigating what caused the payphone to stop working and will have it repaired as soon as possible," said Telus in a statement to Narcity.
Their action was prompted after Bachrach took to social media last Saturday, February 22, in a bid to finally get the job done.
Rural towns often have it tough, especially when it comes to essential services. Given that Rosswood doesn't have cell service along that nearby stretch of highway, the lack of communication could pose a very real risk to their people's lives.
Bachrach and "Old Bob's" fateful meeting happened back in September of 2019. The politician saw "Old Bob" seated outside the Rosswood General Store and approached for a chat.
"I was in election mode, so I went and introduced myself and we had a little chat and I told him I was running for MP," Bachrach said to CTV News.
"'So, you want to be in a position of influence — you can start by fixing this damn pay phone, it hasn't worked since lightning hit the store a couple months back,'" "Old Bob" replied, according to CTV News.
*In the afternoon on Tuesday, February 25, Rosswood told Narcity that the payphone was up and running again.
Can I get 100 RTs to convince @TELUS to finally fix the pay phone at the Rosswood General Store? Seems useful on a… https://t.co/SuOzoZoAiA— Taylor Bachrach (@Taylor Bachrach)1582403922.0
Bachrach took the statement to heart and gave Telus a ring. The company said they'd send someone to fix the phone, but when Bachrach returned last Friday, February 21, the phone was still broken.
That's when he took to social media.
@JenStDen Hi Jen, if we could’ve, we would’ve gotten you info on the Rosswood payphone in <30 mins yesterday to mee… https://t.co/hcPJRfSuni— Erin Dermer (@Erin Dermer)1582605917.0
His post got double the amount of retweets he asked for, and even caught the attention of CTV reporter Jen St. Denis. She shared the tweet with Telus and the rest is history.
"We thank Mr. Bachrach for his tweet this weekend, drawing our attention to this payphone that doesn't appear to be in good working condition," said Telus to Narcity.
*Michelle Manly, a spokesperson for Rosswood General Store, said they'd had three customers come in asking to use the phone on Tuesday, February 25.
"It's one of the few remaining ways to enable communication for the general public whether it's recreation or emergency purposes and everything in between," they said to Narcity.
Manly said there's a Telus employee already looking at the payphone. "Fingers crossed!" they said.
@TELUS replace the pay phone in Coalmont BC. Don't be such a bunch of cheap asses!— Jeff Y. (@Jeff Y.)1430488252.0
Telus appears bent on connecting the rural communities of B.C.; last week, they announced that they'd brought wireless service to every B.C. community with over 1,000 residents, as well as some under, according to their statement to Narcity.
They've also just invested $1 million toward installing a cell tower along Highway 16, bringing service to a 20-kilometre stretch of highway that was "previously the longest stretch without service," they continued.
Telus concluded: "We hope this is welcome news for old Bob!"
Bachrach was unavailable for an interview at the time of this article.
*This article has been updated.