Delmar Nelson turns in his keys after driving school bus 25 years
Delmar Nelson has retired for the third time; but this time, he says, it is permanent.
Nelson worked 24 years for 3M in New Ulm and took early retirement at age 55. However, after awhile, he became bored and decided to seek a part-time job. He learned that the local bus service was in need of drivers, so he talked to bus service owner, took the licensing and physical examinations required for the job, and started driving.
He retired from driving bus four years ago; but then when the local bus service needed more drivers, he got into the driver’s seat again.
Now, nearing his eighty-fifth birthday and after 25 years driving school bus, Nelson figures its time to quit.
“We’re hauling precious cargo, and I really want to quit,” he said during a recent interview. “I don’t want to take the chance of getting in an accident with the kids.”
“It’s been quite an experience,” he said.
A school bus driver is much more than a driver. Drivers come from all age groups, education levels and backgrounds. They drive for different reasons. A driver is a cop, a counselor, a social worker, a friend, a referee and a mentor to the children on their bus. There are no “typical” school bus drivers.
School bus drivers deal with every type of distractions, motorists, weather, road conditions, pedestrians and kids. Many people think it’s a difficult job driving students who can be roudy, loud, and messing around, Nelson commented. It’s important to keep good order because the diver needs to focus on driving. It’s a safety issue for the rest of the passengers. “It’s all how you address it,” Nelson said. “They’ll try you, though.”
His bus driving record is accident free.
The worst of the job is stormy winter weather. “I slid into the ditch one time,” Nelson recalled. “I could hardly see over the hood of the bus. We should have gone out two hours late that winter day,” he commented. However, a snow plow came along and pulled the bus out of the ditch. The bus sustained no damage.
Nelson says he’ll miss the little children. “They get you up in the morning and they keep you going,” he said.