In St. Cloud, judge-turned-trucker turns to bus driving


Dale Mossey mentioned the magic words the other day when he was talking to the St. Cloud Times about his latest career.

He says he’s following his dreams, the subject of the ongoing discussion in this space since last week’s “commencement” speech by Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe who suggested that there are jobs and there are dreams, and too often we mix the two.

Tell it to the judge, Mike.

Mossey is that judge. Or at least he was until he decided he wanted to be a trucker back in 2011.

Then he decided he wanted to be a bus driver in St. Cloud.

So now, he’s a bus driver in St. Cloud, the St. Cloud Times reports.

The Clearwater man is 70 now, and he’s not done working… or dreaming.

“Think about doing something different,” he said. “If it’s going to be your last job, choose something you want to do.”

Mossey generally enjoyed his 23 years behind the bench, but there were seeds of discontent — literally — and thoughts of making a change.

“Frequently,” said Mossey, who also dabbled in agriculture at a farm he owned 12 miles away. “Most of the time at the noon hour, when I had an hour-and-a-half off and I could leave the courthouse and go turn my hay.

“At 1:29 and 59 seconds, I’d be back in.”

Some of his peers weren’t nearly as enthusiastic about the farm moonlighting, one crotchety judge in particular.

“He looked at the bailiff and said, ‘C’mere’ — he was a real grouchy guy,” Mossey said with a laugh.

“He rolls his chair back and points to the floor and says, ‘Has Mossey been in here?’ There was a bud of hay on the floor.”

That kind of interaction only encouraged his thoughts of a career change.

“I got in trouble all the time at the courthouse,” Mossey said. “One judge sent his bailiff over to tell me to stop laughing.

“What I didn’t like about being a judge is the built-in arrogance. Every time I came in and sat down, they said ‘honorable’ and ‘all rise’ and I didn’t like it. And they would not let me change.”

He gave up the gavel and enrolled in a truck-driving program at Century College where he was joined by “a minister, a guy with two master’s degrees in business, and the other four were kids,” Mossey said.

After while as a long-haul trucker, he missed his wife. It was time for a change. He became a bus driver.

“You don’t want to get to the end of your life doing something you’ve always done,” said Mossey, who began operator’s training on June 6 after passing his commercial driver’s license testing, “and you don’t want to get to the end of your life doing something you really aren’t totally invested in.

He’s already thinking about his next career. He says he might become a full-time gardener.

Archive: Life after the “mancession” (NewsCut)

(h/t: Jennifer Ehrlich)

  • Gary F

    Nice. Think of all the great people you meet each day being a bus driver. The icy days in January suck, as well as stupid drivers, but you can pretty much leave your workday with a clear head and not stay up all night wondering if you’ve made the wrong legal decision.

  • lindblomeagles

    This guy is my hero! Although I’m more than 20 years behind him, I’m at his store now, trying to figure out how to do work I love. I’ve even managed to figure out what’s really important to me, like spending time with my daughter, having me time at the end of the work day and on weekends to write books, build a creative webpage, or research a topic of interest to me, to turn my home into a space that is more like me, and to travel once a year to some place in the United States and Canada (I’d love to see Hudson Bay). I don’t need a lot of things, and frankly, I’ve got a basement full of things I’m trying to purge. But, I do want a happy life, a life in which, I DID almost everything I wanted to do, versus, well I made it, made a little money, but, I missed this and that.

  • chlost

    Judge Mossey was one of my favorite judges to appear in front of as an attorney. I still miss him. His chambers (office) was filled with model tractors lined up along the windowsill. But hmmmm…..who was the “grouchy judge”?? 🙂 Glad to hear that things are still going well for him.