Kind deed on bus leads to quest for cruise passengers

Cruise ship passengers Jerry and Pam Reding had only a first name to go on when they tried to track down a Caymanian woman who had helped ensure they did not miss their boat. 

All they knew was the woman they had met on a public bus during their visit to Grand Cayman early this month was called Arlene, worked in the tourism industry and lived in West Bay. 

They wanted to thank her for her kindness to them on the West Bay-bound bus and her efforts to make sure they made it back to George Town in time for the last tender to their ship. 

On their trip, on Dec. 2, the couple got on the bus during a downpour and got chatting with the woman. In a letter to the Cayman Compass, Mr. Reding wrote, “As we rode, she proudly detailed Cayman history and geography, mile by mile, while exposing us to her inner beauty and Cayman kindness. 

“While we expressed that we only had an hour and 15 minutes to return to the last Port Authority tender prior to our ship’s departure, she quietly expressed some concern about our timely return to George Town. 

“What happened next was unexpected; we encountered one of several yellow school buses stopping at almost every city block to unload students. That’s when Arlene pleaded to the bus driver our need to return to the port even more quickly than his present schedule; she even stayed with us as she passed her home to see that we would safely return to George Town without missing our ship’s departure, which we barely did, jumping onto the last tender as it began its last journey back to the Carnival ship Freedom. Whew! It was close.” 

Once they returned to their home in Conroe, Texas, the couple embarked on a quest to find the good Samaritan who had helped them, spending several days making phone calls to the National Museum, The Ritz-Carlton, the post office and the Cayman Turtle Farm, among others. 

“We wanted to thank her and to get a card and package to her in time for Christmas,” Mr. Reding said. 

Then the Redings called the Port Authority, who put him through to their security section, who put him through to dispatcher Waldo Parchment. 

“Normally I deal with that kind of thing, finding things for people,” Mr. Parchment said. “This is the first time I had to find a person. Usually it’s wallets or phones, I track things down.” 

“They described Arlene. I didn’t know who they meant at first, they didn’t give me a last name,” he said. 

On a hunch, he contacted Arlene Parker, who works at the Cayman Land and Sea Cooperative tour operation, and asked if she had met an American couple on a bus and if she’d had a lively conversation with them about President Barack Obama, as Mr. Reding had described to him on the phone. 

“She said ‘That was me.’ The next day, I called [Mr. Reding] back and told him I’d found her,” Mr. Parchment said. 

On Tuesday, gifts for Ms. Parker and Mr. Parchment from the Redings arrived by FedEx in Cayman as a way to thank the pair – Ms. Parker for her assistance and friendliness and Mr. Parchment for finding her. 

The Redings sent the package to the Cayman Compass office where Ms. Parker and Mr. Parchment picked up their gifts – collectible Hallmark musical Christmas ornaments. 

As pleased by the gratitude shown by the Redings and their efforts to track her down to thank her as she was by the gift, Ms. Parker said, “I never had anything like this in my life. This is great. It’s a big surprise. 

“The amount of people I’ve met on the bus … and told them about the Cayman Islands or gave them a tour, this is the first time something like this has happened and I’ve been working in tourism for 10 years.” 

She said after she got to chatting with the couple on the bus, and had checked with them when their tender was leaving, she had deliberately skipped her stop to stay with them. 

“It was their first time here on island, so they [were] strangers to our land. I would want to be treated that way if I was on a strange island … I just wanted them to enjoy themselves and let them know it was safe to be traveling here and traveling on a public bus.” 

After Mr. Parchment put them in touch, Mr. Reding called Ms. Parker. “I was so excited to hear from them because they searched the place down to get in touch with me,” she said. 

Mr. Reding, a retired building developer, said he and his wife travel a lot around the world and had met many people, but were impressed by the friendliness they encountered in Cayman, especially from Ms. Parker, and they had wanted to do something special for her. 

In a post-script to his letter, Mr. Reding wrote: “My wife Pam and I want to thank all the Waldo Parchments, all the Arlene Parkers, and all the Caymanians alike for their wonderful Cayman Kindness. This Christmas Eve, we wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Arlene and Waldo surely made ours.” 

Waldo Parchment and Arlene Parker with the Christmas gifts they received from Jerry and Pam Reding. - PHOTO: TANEOS RAMSAY

Waldo Parchment and Arlene Parker with the Christmas gifts they received from Jerry and Pam Reding. – PHOTO: TANEOS RAMSAY

Jerry and Pam Reding on board the Carnival Freedom the night before they arrived in Grand Cayman.

Jerry and Pam Reding on board the Carnival Freedom the night before they arrived in Grand Cayman.


  1. What a lovely story.

    Well done to Waldo Parchment and Arlene Parker, for doing what I’m sure just came naturally to them – being friendly, helpful, decent human beings.

    Everyday we as residents (whether Caymanian or ”expat”) welcome visitors to these shores and the impression they have of our country reflects directly on every one of us.

    I feel very privileged to be reading a story such as this on Christmas Eve rather than some of the horror that is happening in the world.

    Let us be truly thankful.

    Merry Christmas to you all.

  2. What a beautiful story to read of a lady who is working in the Cayman Islands tourism. Ms Parker I would say that you are doing a very good job,and you”re a ambassador to the Islands. Keep up the good work and you will get bigger results than the Christmas present from this very nice couple, see what they did to find you,they will do more to help you in your business,and they would not forget your hospitality. Merry Christmas and a happy new year.

  3. This is what brought our tourist from day one, Caymankind. This is why more Caymanians need to be hired in the tourism industry. It is a win-win situation for all parties involved. That is the qualification for a tourist job ,that friendly kindness and smile with the pride of education of whom we are. Please hire our people and pay them a cost of living wage. Thank you Arlene and Waldo it brings tears of joy. Merry Christmas

  4. What a beautiful story to read, I think that the friendliness and hospitality and kindness that Ms Parker and Mr Parchment has shown, is what has started Cayman Islands Tourism from day one , and I am very happy to see that it still exist. This is what helps sets us apart from other destinations . @ Mr Miller I agree with your comment, please hire our people is not going to cut it with government. The people need to take ACTIONS. Do you see today that you have a little cheaper gas , this was not because of GOVERNMENT, but because of the protest and the petition from the people. To all merry Christmas, and a happy and prosperous new year.

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