Kossivi Loko Credit: Metro Transit

Kossivi Loko is no stranger to patience, dedication, and community.

As an immigrant from the West African nation of Togo, it took a decade’s worth of patience, dedication, and a desire for community to successfully become a citizen of the United States, unite his family, and secure a job.

“I came here to find opportunity and to build a better life,” Loko said. “I was lucky. I won the immigration lottery.”

Even when he was accepted, however, he couldn’t bring his entire family. His eldest daughter would have to stay in Togo for years until she could be accepted into the country. Today, she is the first of his family to attend college.

“I am so very proud of her.” Loko said. “Her graduation is one of three days I’ve taken off in six years of working here.”

Loko chose Minnesota because a friend already lived here. As they both grew up in a tropical climate, his friend warned him about winter, but Loko looked forward to the change.

“I remember my first snow. It was so white. I was excited to shovel it.” Loko said. “Today, I still love snow, but I’d rather use a snowblower.”

He arrived in Minnesota on a green card in 2003. He initially found work as a truck driver. Eventually, he earned his citizenship in 2010.  Two years later, a call went out for bus operators. In 2012, he put on his first Metro Transit uniform.

After years of driving trucks, the major change was the addition of passengers.

“I like to serve people, and in this job, people need you,” Loko said. “In my interview, I said exactly that: I wanted a job that would serve people and help me to become part of my community.”

Transit is a community, and like all communities, they require relationships, like the one between operators and riders.

“You have no idea what people have been through that day when they get on your bus.” Loko said. “I try to treat everyone nice. And when I’m not having a good day, I remember to take a breath and count.”

At his home base at the Martin J. Ruter garage, he’s found another community: his fellow operators.

“We support each other, and we help each other out.” Loko said. “People care about you. We do our part to make Metro Transit great.”

Loko looks forward to continuing his career at Metro Transit and to growing into new positions.

Operator at a Glance

Hired: Dec. 31, 2012

Routes: 5, 14, 22, and 722

Garage: Martin J. Ruter

Hobbies: Working out, bicycling, traveling

Country of Origin: Togo (West Africa)

Family: Wife and four children, two girls and two boys.

Lives: Brooklyn Park

Memorable Trip: Mount Rushmore with his wife and kids. Was in awe of the craftsmanship of carved faces in the mountainside.

Fun Fact: Although he’s from a tropical African nation, he loves snow and the cold.

Best Advice: Be kind to people. You don’t know what they’re going through or where they just came from.

Metro Transit is hiring

Fast track your way to a new full-time career. No experience in bus operations is required and training is paid. Bus operators receive outstanding benefits like health care, annual salary increases, a pension plan, and an unlimited-ride transit pass. And, as many Metro Transit managers start their careers as operators, there’s also room for growth.

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