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Mackinac Bridge toll collector retires after 30 years

Meet MDOT, Mackinac Bridge Toll Collector, Pat Rickley.
Timothy L. Burke
Mackinac Bridge Authority
Mackinac Bridge Toll Collector Pat Rickley. (Photo: Timothy L. Burke/Mackinac Bridge Authority)

After 30 years of making change and providing smiles to Michiganders and tourists from around the world, perhaps the most recognized and beloved toll collector at the Mackinac Bridge has retired.

The bridge has always been a second home for Pat Rickley.

He’s became known for his friendly smile and banter with drivers as they make their way to the upper peninsula and was often one of the first face people would see when they came to the upper peninsula.

"They didn't want to come to the upper peninsula and see as scowling mad person," Rickley told WCMU. "I look them in the eye, I talk to them, try to get a feel of their feelings and something in their vehicle. I might mention it or a sticker on their car."

Rickley said he always wanted to make people feel welcome and was never afraid to throw in a joke.

"Go feed the bugs or hope you can run faster than the wolf can you know when they're going snowshoeing," said Rickely, "inflict a little fear on him for the weekend."

The Bridge Authority praised Rickley for his work at the bridge. In a statement, the Authority said he processed eight to nine cars per minute, and that includes the jokes.

Rickley holds the record for the most vehicles processed in an hour at 489.

Copyright 2023 WCMU. To see more, visit WCMU.

Rick Brewer