LAST RIDE: Elderly West Kelowna man has dream come true with big rig ride | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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LAST RIDE: Elderly West Kelowna man has dream come true with big rig ride

Armand Flamand had a dream come true today, Dec. 16.
December 16, 2020 - 7:30 PM

“I’m not coming back,” Armand Flamand said, flashing a cheeky smile as he climbed into a massive rig like he did countless times over his 40 years working as a long haul trucker.

Within minutes, the 86-year-old was secure in the passenger seat, and waving to his family as the rig pulled out of the lot at Premium Truck and Trailer in West Kelowna with a symphony of horns sending him off.

“Amazing,” his daughter Leslie said, barely audible over the horns, watching her dad drive away.

It was an emotional scene for the dozens who had gathered and tears flowed freely as Armand’s rig rolled out for what Leslie had dubbed, “his last ride.”

Armand hung up his keys and went into retirement 20 years ago but the love of the road and the trucks that dominate them never were far from mind.

But it wasn’t until he was recently diagnosed with dementia that Leslie was struck by inspiration to revisit old territory — she wanted to give him a great memory. 

“He has diesel running through his veins,” she said. “Since he hung up his keys he’s wanted to get back to it. It gets into your blood.”

She put a call out on Facebook to see if anyone could help and quickly Debbie Mortimer followed up, offering Premium Truck and Trailer’s services.

“If you’ve been in this a long time, they live and breathe it – it’s what they know and they enjoy,” Mortimer said, saying that she was happy to help, regardless of the pandemic.

Driver Troy Thompson was as well.

“I grew up with my dad driving the truck so I know where he's coming from — it feels great that we get to do this,” Thompson said before heading up to the Coquihalla Connector with Armand.

“This is a drive he’s probably going to remember.”

That’s all that Leslie hoped for.

Leslie Flamand shared this photo of her dad's old rig, a Peterbilt cabover
Leslie Flamand shared this photo of her dad's old rig, a Peterbilt cabover
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Leslie Flamand

“He’s in the early stages of his dementia diagnosis, but there have already been changes,” she said. “And dad doesn’t drive anymore — I’m his wheels so, jeepers, this is huge for him. I can’t explain how much this means to us.”

Leslie has a compromised immune system, and when she went through a health crisis five years ago it was Armand who left his life on the Lower Mainland to come to the Okanagan and take care of her.

She wants to make sure that he’s as well-loved as she was as he goes through this transition and it’s hard, given COVID-19.

“You know, we can’t get Christmas with the family,” she said.

“All the normal things we do are no longer things we can do. It’s especially hard when a family member has a diagnosis like this and you don’t know how long he will last for.”



Making Dreams Come True

An employee of Premium Truck saw this post about a week ago, we could not agree more with making this special day happen. Freightliner Trucks Premium Truck & Trailer Inc. Stay Loaded Apparel Bells Trucking City of West Kelowna Posted by Premium Truck & Trailer Inc. on Wednesday, December 16, 2020

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