Growing up, Scott Grimes often tinkered with his car. Working at an equipment rental store, he fixed chainsaws and other tools, and regularly hauled tables and chairs to and from events. Those experiences helped lead an 18-year-old Grimes to a new job at the old Northside Garage, where he started out sweeping buses overnight. Even more influential: His mother, who spent 36 years in the Metropolitan Transit Commission’s Purchasing Department and made sure he was aware of all the benefits and opportunities her longtime employer could provide.
While his new job seemed like a natural fit, the hours and polluted working conditions raised some initial doubts. “After six months working nights I said, ‘I’m quitting. This is driving me nuts,’” Grimes said of his introduction at the Northside Garage, which often filled with exhaust. “But I stuck it out, went with it and it just got better and better.”
The hours, pay and working conditions weren’t the only things that improved as time went on. As he acquired more experience and skills, Grimes ascended from cleaner to helper to skilled helper to technician. Along the way, he worked at the old Snelling, Ruter and Heywood garages. In 1982, he helped move the non-revenue shop from a Northside annex to the newly opened Overhaul Base, where he worked at various points during his career. As he moved around, Grimes was able to repair transmissions, brakes, HVAC systems, lifts and just about everything else on the bus.
At the end of his career, though, he spent almost a decade fixing everything but the bus. From 2011 to 2019, Grimes worked on the Unit Overhaul’s “Fix-It Bench,” repairing air guns, jacks, vacuum cleaners and other equipment used by technicians and other staff. “People will bring stuff to me and I don’t even know what it is,” Grimes said. “It’s different all the time, and that’s what I like the most about this job.”
Reflecting on his career, Grimes said the thing he’d miss the most was his co-workers. But he had plenty to look forward to, too. In retirement, Grimes planned to sleep in, spend more time practicing the piano and guitar, and traveling with his wife Deb. His retirement didn’t bring the family’s connection to Metro Transit to an end, either. Like his mother, Grimes made sure his son was aware of his employer’s competitive pay and benefits. And it worked: Shortly before his retirement, Grimes’ son, Nick, began working as a Head Stockkeeper, the same department where his grandmother spent nearly four decades. “I think his grandma would be pretty proud,” Grimes said.