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Kozou finally takes a holiday

May 15, 2015
kozo-retires

The grand old man of Go Green waves goodbye — normally he’s all a blur.

Today (Friday, May 15), a long-time employee at the Go Green Encorp recycling depot marked his last day on the job.

Kozou (or Kozo) turned 65 this year and, as I understand it, he’s retiring to live on his Canada Pension Plan benefits.

I don’t know exactly how long he’s worked at the bottle depot at 7th Avenue and Ontario Street — certainly as long as I’ve been cashing bottles in there, which is nearly 10 years.

Before his job at Go Green, Kozou had been a homeless binner collecting returnable beverage containers to support himself, as he explained to me for a blog post I wrote back in November of 2013.

He’d been a hard-working binner and for all the time he worked at Go Green, he was arguably the depot’s hardest-working employee.

It may be difficult for the depot’s owners, Kathleen and Anthony Rider, to find the one right person to replace him. There may be no such person and they may have to hire two people.

Work ethic aside, his basic goodness, his cheerful disposition and generous nature, on and off the job, means that Kozou the person can’t be replaced — not in the hearts of his extended Go Green family: his co-workers and the long-time binner customers he’s been such a good friend to.

Kozou explained to me that his immediate plans are to enroll in some adult education courses in downtown Vancouver, where he lives, perhaps at the Carnegie Centre.

Happily, many of the binners who have known Kozou the longest also live in the downtown core so they’ll continue to see him as a friend and neighbour and be able to tell the rest of us how he’s doing.

I really hope too, that the man himself is not a stranger to the south side of False Creek and that he’ll visit Go Green every so ofter, just like the wonderful old uncle that everyone loves but only gets to see on special occasions.

We’ll all miss seeing him on a daily basis though.

Kozou is a wonderful person and it’s been my pleasure to know him. I wish him the best of luck. Hopefully this long “vacation” gives him much contentment and joy; he deserves every minute of it. Click the image to enlarge it.

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