Longtime South Colonie bus drivers look back at their careers

"That kind of made me feel good," he said.

Another memory that sticks out in Dragon's mind is the feeling every year when the students come back to school and greet him with a hug as they hop on the big yellow bus, and catch up with their old friend about their summers.

"When you start a year over and the kids remember you, it makes you feel good," he said.

At one point, Dragon was out from work because he was ill, and students would see him out around town and tell him they missed him.

Dragon and McAllister said they have seen many students go through the school system and grow up to be successful adults, which, they said, is one of the great benefits of the job.

McAllister, who has been a driver with the district for 25 years, nicknamed Dragon the "King of Corn," because of his corny jokes, she said. Others in the bus garage call his jokes "Wayneisms," and have been greeted with one almost every day for as long as he's been there.

Sitting at a round table in the break room of the bus garage, Dragon told McAllister one of his favorite jokes.

"What happens when you drop a piano down a mine shaft?" he asked. "You hit A minor."

McAllister shook her head, a smile on her face.

She began training to be a driver in 1984 just four months after her father, who had also been a bus driver for the Capital District Transportation Authority and the North Colonie Central School District.

"It made me feel closer to him," she said.

At the time, McAllister was one of only 11 women in the 60-person department. Now, she said, it's about half and half.

McAllister actually drove each of her three children to school at one point or another as all three of them went through the South Colonie Central School District.

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