Bud and Carole Coe compare Beaches Dial-a-Ride to “like riding in a limousine. It’s like having your own car and driver. You call with a pickup time the day before and they come get you the next day and make you feel so welcome.”

Bud and Carole are just two of the many riders who rely on Dial-a-Ride to provide transportation in the Jacksonville Beaches. The nonprofit agency has provided rides for the elderly and disabled for more than forty five years. Dial-a-Ride’s mission is to serve the homebound with no other transportation options.

“We think highly of the drivers. I can’t single one of them out because they’re all fantastic,” Bud said. “They are wonderful individuals, wonderful drivers and they really have great personalities. You develop a personal relationship with the drivers. You get to know each other, you become buddies with them.”

Bud and Carole, who have been married for sixty years, began riding with Dial-a-Ride in early 2020. They noticed the buses hauling passengers at the beach and took the phone number off a bus. Both are octogenarians. Bud gave up his driver’s license and Carole still has her license, but they feel more comfortable relying on another driver. They are transported to doctors appointments, grocery stores and for other errands at the Beaches. 

“We would be in a bucket of trouble if we didn’t have Dial-a-Ride; it’s been a real life saver,” Bud said. “We’re very, very happy for many reasons.”

Like many Beaches residents, the Coes are originally from outside the Jacksonville area. Bud was born in Chicago and earned degrees from the University of Minnesota (Bachelors) and the University of Syracuse (Masters) and worked as a radio newscaster in Pittsburgh and St. Louis.

He met Carole, a flight attendant for Braniff Airlines in her hometown of St. Louis, on a blind date through Bud’s sister, although Carole wasn’t receptive to blind dates. Soon they were engaged and got married. Carole left her job to run the household while Bud advanced his career. He left the news business and worked for Pepsi and later for Coke as a district manager and regional manager, and the family moved around. Cities they lived in included Annapolis, Houston, Indianapolis, Chicago, and Portland, Oregon. They first moved to Jacksonville when Bud ran the area operations for Pepsi in Jacksonville, Gainesville and Savannah from 1975-80, and they returned for their second retirement in 1998.

Bud and Carole have four children, seven grand children and two great grandchildren.

To sum up Dial-a-Ride, Carole said: “We can’t tell you how much we appreciate them. The drivers, the staff, the office people. If you ask a favor, they jump on it.”

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