Sunday, March 01, 2015 8:59:00 AM
Paul Liddicoat was just out of high school, living at home and looking for work, when his mom, a longtime bus rider, suggested he apply at what was then known as the Metropolitan Transit Commission. Liddicoat hadn’t considered working as an operator – he thought he’d become a baker, a chef or a barber – but the $5 hourly wage was persuasive enough for him to put in an application. The manager Liddicoat spoke with shared his birth date, which was enough of a reason to give him a chance (if, that is, he agreed to trim his beard and get a haircut). Liddicoat began on June 17, 1974, and spent the next four decades behind the wheel. He retired in March 2015 with nearly 41 years of service. “Everyone says it goes by fast and it really does,” Liddicoat said while making his final trip through Minneapolis, joined by colleagues and his wife Jody, whom he met on the bus. At his retirement, Liddicoat, a 33-year safe operator, said the key to his longevity was having thick skin. “You take it one ear and out the other,” he said.