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Rider's Almanac Blog

Know Your Operator

Husband and wife become bus operators together

Posted by John Komarek | Tuesday, March 14, 2023 5:22:00 PM

Throughout their marriage, Delaneo and Takeysha Tillman marked many major firsts together.

First car. First house. First business.

Today, they’ll mark another first – becoming bus operators.

“When we passed the test, we looked at each other, we both said that it’s something else we’ve done together,” Delaneo said.

The road to Metro Transit began after the couple sold their successful franchise in Chicago and returned to Minnesota. Following the pandemic and after a few business deals that fell through, they were inspired to find stable careers as bus operators to help them reset their lives. At first, there were a few reservations, however the benefits outweighed any uncertainties.

“I was a little afraid of becoming an operator because I’ve never had to learn about the parts of a bus before,” Takeysha said. “Metro Transit offers a solid foundation with a good wage and medical benefits for our family.”

As they worked to earn their Commercial Drivers License and learn the trade, Delaneo and Takeysha supported and pushed each other to complete the program. To them, it was second nature to do so.

“We’re a team – when we gotta roll up our sleeves, we do it together,” she said. “Where I’m weak on something, he’s strong and vice versa.” Delaneo coached his wife on the technical side of vehicles as he had more previous experience, and Takeysha provided her husband with a calm that driven entrepreneurs sometimes lack.

“She helps me go with the flow better when looking at the future,” he said.

And after every day of training, they kept each other accountable. At home, they’d push each other review coursework and sharpen up on sections they needed to work on. Now as they move beyond classroom training, they’ll continue to encourage each other to succeed at the new North Loop Garage where they begin in-service training and celebrate their 20th anniversary together.

And after all this time, some may still wonder how they’re able to work together so well. Just ask them and they’ll happily tell you the secret to their success.

“We were friends first,” Delaneo said. “An authentic friendship is our foundation.”