Kelowna garbage man retiring after 40 years on job, moving to Costa Rica

Garbage man into the sunset

A garbage man is calling it a career after 40 years of service in Kelowna.

Jamie Robins has been in the sanitary engineering business for four decades, with his dad the one who sparked his interest in the job.

“I used to live in Toronto as a street musician. My dad flew me out here, and he was a garbage man. He got me on the trucks, and I said to myself that I’d do it for a few years — now here I am in my 40th year,” said Robins on Friday.

As the second longest-serving garbage man in Kelowna, Robins joked that the best part of the job is "you get to know all the shortcuts."

"You get to meet lots of neat people with different life stories, different backgrounds," he added.

Now that he's retiring, Robins will be riding off into the sunset, literally.

“I met my wife in Costa Rica, she lives there, she's been there 20 years and I met her four years ago. We got married this past January so my plan is to move there with her and I’m going to play music there. I've got some gigs lined up,” said Robins.

E360S route manager John Buck described Robins, in a word, as "genuine."

Other coworkers said they were sad to see Robins go, but happy he will be living his dream in Costa Rica.

“There isn’t a person that doesn't like him," Buck said. "You can’t find a reason to not like Jamie, unless you just hate somebody who's nice, accommodating and hard working. You can't beat this guy."

To ensure he ended his long journey on a high note, his coworkers held a party Friday. He was also awarded with a $3,000 bonus from E360S, which left him nearly speechless. “Are you kidding me? I don’t know what to say, thank you all so much,” said Robins.

He's been doing the job so long, some of the current employees at E360S used to follow his truck around when they were kids.

After spending a few hours watching Jamie around his co-workers, it was obvious that he will be missed by those who knew him. He shook hands and said his goodbyes to everyone at E360S. While he'll be missed, the music-loving garbage man won’t be hard to find in Costa Rica — just look for that long hair, infectious smile and guitar.

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