In 2017, there were many memorable folks who shared their stories with The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette, and we wanted to catch up with some of them before the year’s end. Here is the second story in our “Where are they now?” series.
Mister Greyhound rides again in Beaufort.
Curtis “Pogo” Eldred was featured in The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette on Feb. 28, his last day of work at the Beaufort Greyhound bus station.
Or so he thought.
It was remarkable story that was carried around the South because Eldred’s run with Greyhound had been uninterrupted in Beaufort since 1962. In 54 years as a ticket agent, people who saw him around town would say, “There goes Greyhound.”
“It’s a lot of memories,” Eldred said in February, one day after he turned 77 and one day before he’d start looking for another job. “I could tell you stories all day.”
But the one story he could not tell is that Greyhound would soon throw it in reverse and return to the campy old brick bus station on Trask Parkway (U.S. 21) north of town.
For a short time, riders caught the Greyhound buses headed north to Detroit or south to Miami at the Sunhouse convenience store nearby.
When Eldred answered the phone at the station recently, he said he didn’t know how it all happened, but he was glad to have his job back.
Lanesha Gipson, spokesperson for Greyhound Lines at its corporate office in Dallas, said in an email:
“We decided to relocate in Beaufort after our lease ended at our station. However, because we have a large volume of soldiers, as well as other customers that travel from our location, we decided to remain there as we believe we’d be able to better accommodate all of our customers from that station.”
Unclear is how long it may last.
Local franchisee John Rials said in February: “The internet put us out of business. People can buy discounted tickets online, and when they do that we don’t get anything. We saw it coming. The handwriting has been on the wall for a couple of years. I made 35 to 40 percent less this January than last January. It was a sinking ship. It’s the same in small towns across America.”
Rials maintains the business of selling tickets to Marines graduating at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island.
Eldred has seen it all in his long ride in Beaufort. The bus station was on Scott Street when he started, handling nine departures daily in a building that is now the Greyhound Flats at the Beaufort Inn, and supporting a 24-hour Terminal Grill next door.
A fellow ticket agent was murdered many years ago when the station was on Boundary Street.
Eldred once busted an AWOL Marine Corps recruit trying to slip out of town with $1,400 he stole.
Business, they say, has always been driven by the Marine Corps.
And it has apparently given the Greyhound station, and its ageless ticket agent, one more tour of duty.