Filling shoes of Johnny Barnes
It is a big pair of shoes to fill, but Dennis Bean is aiming to bring sunshine to morning commuters just like Johnny Barnes had for decades.
You may have seen him on your journey into work, because for the past few weeks Mr Bean, 68, has regularly stood at the roundabout at the bottom of Trimingham Road between 6am and 9am, wishing motorists a good morning.
And while he concedes Mr Barnes, who announced he was considering “retiring” seven months ago from a career that brought international fame, is an extraordinarily tough act to follow, Mr Bean says he is happy to give it a go.
“It's what Bermuda needs. There are way too many unhappy people on this island and being out there makes a difference,” he told The Royal Gazette. “From the very first time I saw Mr Barnes down here waving, I knew he had something going for him and I really felt the spirit of what he was doing.
“Over the years, it's attracted a lot of people to rise to any occasion. Especially if somebody just says they love you and waves to you and encourages you for that day. On that basis, I thought that it was just simply fantastic to do what he was doing.
“Truth is, he's inspirational. If nothing else, what he has done is inspirational.”
Mr Bean said he had recently noticed that Mr Barnes was missing from his usual spot while passing through during his daily walk.
“After a period of time I just decided that one day I'm going to go down there and start waving,” he said.
“I didn't know why he wasn't here, so I thought that I'd just wave until he came back, and if he did I would just keep on walking.”
Mr Bean, a taxi driver, told The Royal Gazette that he had always had a sense of community — working in the hospitality industry, visiting men in prison and talking to children in schools about the “more constructive sides of living”.
He is positive he will not be at the roundabout for as long as Johnny Barnes was because of the demands of the job.
But he said: “There have been many people that have waved back to me and supported me, and it feels good to go the extra mile.”