Lismore goanna-bus driver retires after 30 years
KNOWN as the driver of the bus with the goanna on the side, John Paisley has retired after 30 years on the job.
Mr Paisley started his career in public transport with Simes Brothers before it was bought by Kirklands and for the last 18 years he has driven for Northern Rivers Buslines.
"I'll miss the people, I have a lot of regulars ... but I'm still coming back next year as a relief," he said.
The people will clearly miss Mr Paisley too, because he's received many farewell gifts.
"Yesterday I got a packet of macadamis nuts ... but it's mainly chocolate," he said.
The 66-year-old from Tucki Tucki said it's hard for him to go anywhere without being recognised.
"Kids I've taken to school when they were 10, now they're 20 or 25, they say 'g'day John'," he said.
"One time visiting Gympie, I saw someone there and he said, 'hey it's my bus driver!'"
He said as a farmer he will still be kept busy, but he's looking forward to a bit of a break.
"At the moment I'm working seven days a week," he said.
"When you're chasing cows at five or six in the morning Saturday and Sunday, fixing fences or spraying ... it's just caught up with me. Sometimes I come in for tea at 9 or 10pm, but thankfully my wife is very patient."
Mr Paisley said he remembers how nervous he was during his first week of work.
"It was a big learning curve, I just came off the farm so getting into buses with people was a bit different," he said.
"I can remember the first time ever with Wyrallah School ... looking down the back of the buses and seeing all those little faces.
"My hands just froze on the steering wheel."
Mr Paisley has been driving the same bus for about eight years, but roughly five years ago the big goanna was placed on the side.
He said the key to keeping his passengers satisfied and comfortable was quite simple.
"Support them, treat them as you would like to be treated, help one another, that's the way I've always looked at it," he said.
He took his wife, Lyn, and their four grandkids on one last bus trip this afternoon.