When Becky Hardin drove past Caldwell Transportation Company every day on the way to her job at a large grocery store chain, she always saw the “Now Hiring” banner.
Working too many long hours at her current job, Becky felt she spent too much time away from her kids, One day, after driving past CTC, she thought, “Why not?” That was eleven years ago.
Starting as a school bus driver, Becky didn’t stop there. She looked around to see where else she could help, and learned to clean buses, drive charter and diesel coaches, and did every bit of maintenance on CTC’s vehicles short of being a mechanic.
“While the mechanics look over motors and undercarriages during inspection time,” says Becky, “I remove the old reflective tape and apply new tape, put on the required stickers, and fix seats.”
Becky is pretty open about what drives her.
“My biggest inspiration is the kids. I love working with them.”
The job afforded more time with Becky’s own children, who she was able to take on the bus with her when they were at a young age.
“My daughter learned to walk here in the lounge, and often toddled down the sidewalk with me through the bus lot,” she shares, “I now do the charters and get to watch all of my middle daughter’s games. When they’re at a tournament, I run to the grocery store and fill a cooler with food for them for the day. It’s nice; I’m working, but it filters into the rest of my life. It’s a blend.”
She agrees that CTC is a family atmosphere.
“It’s family oriented,” Becky says, “It is like a family here, too. CTC is very supportive. At one point, I’d hurt my shoulder and kept using it right up until I couldn’t anymore. I did everything possible to keep going, but it wouldn’t move. I wound up needing surgery. Rick, one of the owners, offered to mow my lawn for me. Where else do you find that?”
“Also,” she adds, “If there’s any sort of issue at home, any type of devastation, all I have to do is talk to the management. They’ll help in the best way they can.”
Becky’s helpful nature spans beyond the bus lot. She also assists in ordering and filing within the CTC office, and that spirit of helping carries over into her home life, too.
“Let’s see,” she laughs, “I’ve got three dogs that were all strays, four cats that were strays. One abandoned dog ripped my house up, but we still got her fixed, gave her shots, and found her a good owner. Yeah, it cost me, but you know what? Animals are like people, and you’d do that for a person.”
On a daily basis, Becky can be found looking for ways to pitch in. When two trainees were practicing railroad crossing stops at two make-believe tracks at the CTC lot, Becky rushed out to sweep the lines so they would be easier to see.
Becky explains her philosophy: “We’ve all been there. When you’re new, you’re still just learning. When you get into a bus and behind the wheel to pick up school kids, every school has different quirks and requirements; every bus is different. You can’t learn that while you’re training, you learn as you go. Helping each other is just what you do.”
Over the years, Becky’s seen siblings from oldest to youngest come and go but has noticed changes in today’s riders.
“Some of them are ‘harder’ than they used to be. They have the attitude that they have to be there, so they give respect, but it’s more automatic,” she shares, though recalls a time when she felt she definitely make an impact.
“One girl I drove for had bipolar disorder. She’d missed school for three days, and when boarding on the fourth day, she was lethargic, her pupils were dilated, and she couldn’t even talk to me. I told her, ‘Sit in your seat, honey’. At school, I involved the counselor, a teacher, and the principal, telling them that she wasn’t herself, that something wasn’t right. They got her off the bus, got her a little food. They later found out that the program funding her medication had been cut. When that medication was made available once more, those administering the medication had doubled the dosage. That girl wound up in the hospital.”
Becky’s eyes soften over the memory.
“While waiting for the kids to get out on the last day of school, that girl approached me. She’d been released from the hospital and was living in a different home, with relatives. She gave me a big hug and said, ‘Thank you for saving my life.’”
“I will never forget that,” Becky adds, “That’s what makes this job worth doing. Touching those that might get overlooked. Maybe I’ve only been able to touch three or so kids within the eleven years, but it’s worth it. I won’t pass anybody up that’s in need. If someone needs help, you help them. I’m just kind of like that.”
CTC congratulates Becky as Driver of the Week.
Caldwell Transportation Company- NOW HIRING DRIVERS