I met a married couple caught up in the recent Bethel layoffs. They are a fairly young couple in their mid to upper 30s, I didn't think to ask which department they worked in before being laid off. The couple was driving cross country from New York to California, and stopping overnight at JW homes along the way. They were at the TMS and Service Meeting and looking very tired after driving all day. The husband said they would be back on the road the next morning. His wife seemed to be in a very good mood and commented five or six times that night, the brother commented once. The brother wore slacks and a shirt, no jacket, no tie.
A couple of observations:
When brothers are accepted to Bethel here in the U.S., they are usually flown (I think at their cost) to Bethel and have a shuttle waiting in New York to pick them up. This couple had a three day car rental (probably at their cost); three days to drive cross country in stifling heat and high gas prices...what a way to be kicked out of the Big House.
The sister seemed happy...probably happy to be getting her own home versus living out of a 2-room box. By his body language and dress the husband was none to pleased. As congregation members found out they were former Bethelites, there was whispering and hushed tones. I know a lot of the congregation were surprised to see him dressed in such a casual manner and not giving a lot of comments during the meeting.
I hope their experience opens their eyes to the WTS, and I hope many other laid off Bethelites are feeling the same way.