Toronto bus driver retires after 42 years, emotional last day on the job.

We ride and reminisce with TTC bus driver Al Nywening as he drives his last shift after 42 years at the TTC.(Bernard Weil/Toronto Star)After 42 years working evenings, TTC bus driver Al Nywening is calling it a night. “I’m ready for retirement,” Nywening said shortly before heading out for his last shift Tuesday, a 5:55 p.m. to 1:45 a.m. on North York’s 125 Drewry route. “I’m not really going to miss the job at all, (but) I think I’ll miss a few of the people.” Nywening started with the TTC in February 1975 — when Pierre Trudeau was prime minister and David Crombie was mayor of Toronto — less than a week after applying to a driver’s ad he saw in the newspaper. The hiring manager told Nywening to get a haircut — he had shoulder-length hair back then — and to come back Monday morning. “So I came back, I had a haircut, and the guy says, ‘I thought I told you to get a haircut,’ ” Nywening recalled. “He sent me back (to get it cut shorter). That’s what it was like then.”Al Nywening on his last shift after 42 years of driving for the TTC.  (Bernard Weil / Toronto Star) | Order this photo  Nywening got his start on the 7 Bathurst route — evening shift, because he’s a night owl — and stuck with it for the better part of the next three decades, trying out about 10 other routes in between before settling on Drewry as his next steady ride about nine years ago. His last official day was Wednesday with his colleagues throwing him a goodbye ceremony.“I’ve seen children born and I’ve seen those same children have children over the years because I spent over 30 years on Bathurst St.,” he said. “That’s kind of unique.”Joyce Nywening pins a corsage on her husband Al onboard the bus on his last shift. “I’m ready for retirement,” said Al.  (Bernard Weil/Toronto Star)  In that time, he got married to Joyce and had three children of his own. Along with a handful of other family members, including two grandchildren, they hopped on Nywening’s bus for several loops Tuesday night to commemorate the end of his career.“We thought it was the last chance (to ride) after 42 years of driving, so it’s a big, big moment to celebrate,” said Nywening’s daughter Danielle De Castro. “We’re used to just having him home on the weekends, so it’ll be nice to have him around in the evenings to do family stuff,” she added. Al Nywening in his TTC bus driver uniform holding his son, Mark, in 1981. Nywening, who is retiring after 42 years with the TTC, drove his last shift Tuesday evening.  (FAMILY HANDOUT)  Former TTC assistant manager and operator Ed Korpin, who worked with Nywening for over a decade, also came out Tuesday night to bid his former colleague a happy retirement. “Al was one of those guys, you barely saw him. He came in, he reported for work, did his job, came home, very few complaints — as a matter of fact, no complaints that I know about,” Korpin said. “He was just an overall good employee.”Although Nywening said he’s had his fair share of unpleasant experiences while driving — he’s been pelted with eggs through his driver’s side window, had a slushie tossed at him through an open door, been yelled at by irate passengers during snowstorms — he’s also seen the good in Torontonians, too. He recalled one instance when a male passenger threatened him with physical violence.“This woman jumped up, spread her arms and put herself between me and the person that wanted to hit me and said, ‘You’re going to have to get past me first.’ I’ll never forget her . . . that was truly something, to step out and put yourself in the line of danger like that,” he said.Al Nywening’s family joined him on the bus for the final send- off.  (Bernard Weil/Toronto Star)  Nywening’s last round Tuesday night was decidedly less dramatic, save for a TTC supervisor boarding the bus at Finch Station and declaring to passengers they should all wish him a happy retirement; a few did, stopping to chat and wishing him the best before getting off at their stops. A few regulars had also given him goodbye and thank-you cards and chocolates throughout the week, Nywening said, after learning he’d been leaving soon; one passenger he regularly spoke to even promised him a bottle of wine. Not that Nywening is the sentimental type. Over the years, he said hasn’t kept any old uniforms or memorabilia, electing to give everything away or back to the TTC instead. “I wouldn’t keep it, not because I don’t want to memories, but because it’s no use to me,” he said. The only thing he’s held on to is an old transfer cutter, gifted to him by someone from the mechanic shop ages ago. It sits on his desk at home. “I’m going to take my transfers that are left over (from my last shift) and just have them in my transfer cutter in my office as an old keepsake, and that’s really about it,” he said.“I’m just looking forward to being a full-time husband and family man again.”Delivered dailyThe Morning Headlines NewsletterThe Toronto Star and, each property of Toronto Star Newspapers Limited, One Yonge Street, 4th Floor, Toronto, ON, M5E 1E6. You can unsubscribe at any time. Please contact us or see our privacy policy for more information.