Bus driver retires after 48 years
By James Grob, [email protected]
After 48 years, Tuesday was Betty Flick’s last day of school.
“The day couldn’t have been any better. The families gave me presents, and each kid made a card for me,” she said. “It was a pretty busy, awesome day.”
A Charles City School District bus driver, Flick is retiring this week. There was an escort by the county Sheriff’s Office for her through town after school on Tuesday, and an open house for her on Wednesday morning. The open house also recognized fellow bus driver Bonnie Lore, who retired earlier this fall after 44 years.
Lore said she was 25 years old when she started driving a bus.
“When I started we had to shift gears, we didn’t have automatics,” she said.
She knew all about shifting gears, as she grew up on a farm and was married to a truck driver
“There were a lot of fun, positive experiences,” Lore said. “All the kids are very respectful. Charles City has come a long way in improving the behavior on the bus.”
Flick said that 48 years ago, she was looking for a job that worked well with raising kids.
“I wanted a job where I would be home when my kids weren’t at school,” she said.
Flick said she loved being with kids, and one in particular was Charles City Press owner/publisher Chris Hall. Hall rode Flick’s bus from the time he was in kindergarten until he started to drive to school, and so did his brother John.
“When they were young, John wanted to be a baseball player when he grew up and Chris wanted to be an FBI agent,” Flick said. “They were two great guys to have on that bus, and I still miss them.”
Dusty Schmitt, currently a teacher at Central preschool, said Flick drove three generations of her family on her route — her dad, Kelly Meyer, aunt and uncle back in the 1970s, Schmitt herself and her sister from 1990 to about 2001, and now Schmitt’s kids, ages 10, 13 and 15. Schmitt said that Flick always “made it fun.”
“She’s just super welcoming,” she said. “Anyone who knows Betty, loves Betty.”
Schmitt’s son typically has a bet with Flick, as they wager a pop on ball games, and Schmitt attributes her love of country music to Flick.
“She taught me to like country music,” Schmitt said. “Neither of my parents liked country music, but I was on the bus for so many hours and that’s what she played.”
“The kids are as wonderful today as they were when I first started,” Flick said. “The one thing I’m really going to miss are the kids on my bus route.”