Retirees Open New Doors as Doctors Hospital Shuttle Drivers
There comes a point in everyone’s career when they begin entertaining thoughts about retirement. At the end of a stressful week, they may even allow themselves a few moments to look wistfully ahead to a time when their schedules aren’t full and their days are their own.
Joe Rice, Phil Holt, Fred Scheltz and John Nolan have been there and done that. Now, they’re redefining the idea of retirement behind the wheel of associate shuttle buses at OhioHealth Doctors Hospital.
Rice, 53, worked for the Columbus Division of Power for 32 years before retiring in 2014. He worked for the public utility since he was in high school, so suddenly not having something to keep him busy every day was a shock to the system, especially for his wife.
“She said, ‘You need something to do, you talk non-stop when I get home.’” he said.
He approached an OhioHealth shuttle driver at a coffee shop and soon found himself cruising around the parking lots at Doctors Hospital, from 5 to 9 a.m. He loves interacting with OhioHealth associates who ride his shuttle to work. “I get to meet a lot of exceptional and driven people who do hard jobs,” he said.
Holt’s daughter is a surgical nurse at OhioHealth Grant Medical Center. She suggested he look into driving shuttles after he retired from a 38-and-a-half year career as a pipefitter.
He knew he wanted a job that provided insurance, but he also wanted something low-stress. “A shuttle driver is not like a pipefitter. It’s not hard on me,” Holt, 59, said, noting he spent much of his former career working on large-scale construction projects, many at OhioHealth care sites.
For about a year, he’s been navigating the parking lots at Doctors Hospital, Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. He enjoys chatting with associates and getting to know them day in and day out.
“It really is a stress-free job,” he said. “I get out, but I save a lot of wear and tear on my body.”
For Scheltz, driving is a stress-reducer. The 78-year-old first put his skills to the test while driving various types of trucks serving in the military in Europe. He also drove oversized vehicles from serving as a volunteer firefighter for 20 years and a substitute bus driver.
“I just really love to drive,” he said.
Of the four retirees driving shuttles at Doctors Hospital, Scheltz is the most tenured. He began driving for OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital 15 years ago after being laid off after 27 years of service at National Cash Register in Cambridge, Ohio.
He currently works as a contingency driver at Doctors Hospital.
Before joining the shuttle crew, Nolan, 69, had already driven nearly a million miles during his 36-year career as a dairy products salesman. It didn’t take him long to get back in the saddle. Three months to be exact. That was nearly four years ago.
“I needed something to do, I didn’t like just hanging around,” he said. A friend from school recommended he look into driving for OhioHealth.
“I was tired of driving over the road to other states, but shuttling associates to their parking lots seemed like something I could do,” he said.
Like Holt, he enjoys a job that is stress-free. “Once you leave, it’s done,” he added.
For him, and the other drivers, manning the shuttles made the transition into retirement easier.
“OhioHealth has been a great company. The associates I drive are very nice and appreciative,” Nolan said. “I couldn’t ask for anything else.”
This story was originally published in an internal OhioHealth associate publication.
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