WALES — Former Androscoggin County Sheriff Guy Desjardins — fondly nicknamed by his students “Driver Guy” — says he’s found his new life calling: driving a school bus.

“It’s such a turnaround,” he said. “But I’m probably the happiest I’ve been in a long time.”

Desjardins said his transition from working as a full-time sheriff to retirement was not easy.

“(It was) something I wasn’t prepared for when retiring — it just stops,” Desjardins said. “I couldn’t go from 100 mph to 0. It was difficult.”

He said that after retirement, he no longer felt challenged or called upon to solve problems and reach solutions.

“Nobody’s asking you questions, asking your advice,” he said. “I wasn’t prepared for that.”


He says driving a school bus is definitely a challenge.

“At the end of the day, you feel like you’ve accomplished something,” he said. “That’s fun for me; that’s rewarding for me.”

Desjardins worked briefly as judicial marshal post-retirement.

“A lot of retired police force go into jobs like that,” he said. “… I liked the job, but got tired of carrying a gun. I thought, ‘There’s gotta be more to it.’”

He started this new venture — driving a school bus — in 2015.

“When I first retired, some friends recommended bus driving, but I just put it on the back burner and forgot about it,” he said. “Then Larry Gowell, the Regional School Unit 4 head driver, reached out to me.”


“We started practicing in the Libby-Tozier parking lot almost every Saturday and Sunday for two to three hours,” he said.

After testing and passing for his CDL federal license in December, Desjardins was able to start working part-time for the RSU 4 school district.

Desjardins said he had been very excited about his new job.

“It’ll get me out of my house,” he said.

He started Jan. 4 as a substitute driver training with a full-time driver. After one day of working with her, Desjardins got a call she had to go on medical leave for four months and his part-time job suddenly became full-time.

Desjardins’ favorite part of the job? The kids.


“I not only fell in love with the job,” he said, “but I really got connected with the kids.”

He did say initially that’s what terrified him the most — working with pre-kindergarten to second graders — but has found that they are a really special group of children.

“I work the Litchfield route, so there’s usually 62 kids on the bus all at one time,” he said. “I looked at those kids, going to school, and they were so intimidating. But that’s the group I really connected with.”

Desjardins said the students are definitely a handful, but he knew he had found his new niche — and it gave him a new respect for teachers and what they go through every day. 

“The kids, they’re brutally honest,” he said. “And with 60-62 kids, you have 60-62 different conversations.”

Desjardins spoke about the time a kindergarten student told him that she was planning her wedding. 


“I asked her if she was gonna tell her parents about it, and she said, ‘No, I want to wait until I’ve saved enough money first and everything’s planned.’ I asked her, ‘How much is it gonna cost?’ She says ‘$10. But right now, I only have $5.’

“These little stories — they happen all day on the bus,” Desjardins said, laughing. “They’re very smart at that age. And it’s these types of experiences that I love.”

Desjardins also explained that although to most people the career shift seems surprising, he had owned a private limousine company with his wife for 12 years, Imperial Luxury Transportation. They had three cars and mostly worked proms and weddings.

“I’ve always enjoyed driving,” he said.

Desjardins is now back to working part-time as a driver, but he’s very excited to stick with his route.

“I’m definitely planning on continuing,”said Desjardins, whose last day for the current school year is Friday. He also wants to stay in Sabattus and continue on the Sabattus-Wales-Litchfield route. 

“I like the small-town atmosphere,” he said. “Going into a larger area, I might not make the same connection. But I’m excited to be back in September.”

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