Troy Lindsay's profile is a little higher these days. His son Phillip shot to stardom playing for the Broncos in 2018, going from undrafted to a top NFL running back in his first season.
As Phillip has become a household name, the spotlight has started to shine on the Lindsay family, which seems to have a knack for sports. But what's not as well known about the Lindsays is that the family's patriarch, Troy, is not only responsible for helping to raise a hometown hero for the Broncos, but has also been driving a bus for the Regional Transportation District for more than twenty years.
On weekdays, Troy Lindsay wakes up at 2:50 a.m. and heads to the RTD East Metro Division in Aurora. He prepares the bus, cleaning its windows, before heading out for his seven-and-a-half-hour shift to pick up Aurora's early risers.
"When you go on your bus, that’s your bus," he says. "You can decide whether you’re going to have an awful day or a good day. It all starts with us. It starts with saying 'Hi' to somebody or fussing with them because they don’t have a nickel. We decide how we want our days to go."
Even before Phillip became a rookie sensation, RTD passengers knew Troy well. That's because the Lindsay family's roots here go back decades.
The Lindsays have been in the Denver area since the mid-’60s, when Troy's parents moved here from New Jersey. They settled in Park Hill, and Troy and his older brother, Tony, both starred as running backs at Thomas Jefferson High School; the number that they shared, 22, was even retired in their honor. The two Lindsay boys then went on to play college football on full scholarships, Tony at the University of Utah and Troy at Colorado State University.
After finishing school, Troy, who was already raising a family with his first wife, entered the mental health care field as a counselor at facilities for struggling youth. Through this work, he developed an ear for listening and a knack for helping others. But after more than fifteen years of helping young people during their most difficult moments, Troy says he was burned out. So he left the mental health care field and got a job driving a bus for RTD.
"I do the exact same thing on my bus that I did when I was in those facilities," Troy says. "I guess I have a light to me that draws people to me. People love to talk with me. They love to talk with me and tell me their problems. And that’s what you get on the bus, too. You’re getting the same stuff."
But now when Troy leaves work after his shift, he no longer feels like he's carrying other people's problems home with him. "When I finish the day, I just go home. The bus was just a big relief," he says.
Troy works part-time, at thirty hours a week. Toward the beginning of his RTD tenure, that meant six-hour shifts five days a week. Now he works seven-and-a-half-hour shifts four days a week. That schedule, with flexibility to work early in the morning, was a perfect fit for him and his current wife, who works full-time, as they raised their young children.
"I could come in at three in the morning and get off by nine or ten," he recalls. "I go home and I have the kids. So it eliminates babysitting. Can you imagine what babysitting is for five little kids?"
All five of Troy's children have gone to or are currently in college on full-ride sports scholarships. In fact, all seven of Troy and Tony's sons have played college football on full scholarships.
"I think that’s pretty blessed," Troy says.
Phillip has gone the farthest with his athletic talents. He became the first-ever undrafted offensive rookie to make the Pro Bowl — and did so for his hometown team.
Since his son became a star, people have started to recognize him on the bus a bit more, Troy says, but he avoids getting caught up in the fanfare. For him, work is about making sure that people get where they need to be on time, and offering an ear to those looking to vent.
"It’s not where I just put a desk out and help people. There’s even a big sticker in there that says don’t talk to the drivers, but that doesn’t work all the time. It’s a therapy session, is what it is," he says, laughing. "Discount therapy."
Now 57, Troy says he isn't going to drive a bus forever, given how tiring it can be at times. But retirement won't mean just sitting by a pool.
Once Phillip gets an inevitable multimillion-dollar contract in the coming years, Troy says, he will put away his driver's uniform and get back into coaching, albeit not football. "I want to work still," he concludes. "And I’m really into reiki and martial arts, so I’ll probably do something like that."
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