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93-year-old Bothell resident restarts his career
Bothell resident Lloyd Ness was 15 years old when he discovered a love for cars.
"I bought a (Ford) Model T Convertible for $15 and driving it around was the best feeling in the world," he said. "I got pulled over for speeding around Green Lake and my dad made me return the car."
That didn't stop Ness.
"My dad thought I was taking the bus to school, but what I was really doing was buying cars for $10, fixing them up and driving them to school," he said. "Then I would sell those cars for $15."
Ness also participated in illegal street racing, which resulted in traffic tickets, a fine and 40 days without a license.
"This proves I wasn't afraid of the law," he said, winking. "But, getting busted forced me to rethink my decisions and to get more serious about my future."
Ness had a number of odd jobs before securing a job as a sales manager for Brooks Biddle Automotive, where he stayed for 30 years before retiring at age 78. This month, he returned to work for Biddle.
"I just missed it," he said. "John (Biddle) called me up and said he needed some help and I said ok."
John Biddle, president of Brooks Biddle Automotive, said he and his coworkers decided Ness would be a great edition to their team.
"Even after Lloyd retired he would stop by the shop to say 'hi' and it just brightened everyone's day," Biddle said. "On the weekends we get busy and don't have enough sales people, so our manager brought up the possibility of bringing in Lloyd to help us out. He is so passionate about cars and so knowledgeable."
Ness has sold at least one car each day he's worked.
"People just love him," Biddle said. "He's always helping others. He's just an inspirational character for our city."
During his career, Ness worked for at least three other new-car dealers in the Puget Sound area. He has a room in his home full of trophies for being the top selling salesman.
"I think I am successful because I have never tried to oversell anyone or misrepresent a car," Ness said. "I tell it like it is."
Ness recalls selling four convertibles in one day.
"I remember I had sold three and then was sitting around waiting for customers to show up when I spotted a soldier standing across the street," he said.
Ness motioned for the man to come over.
"I says, 'hey soldier, get over here I got something for you,'" he said. "I showed him a new convertible we'd just gotten in and he was sold; he wanted to take it out of that parking lot right then and there."
Ness has noticed a big difference in customers that come to the dealership now then in previous years.
"They come in with computers on their phones and all this information about the car they think they want," he said. "You have to be way more technical with customers now."
In addition to working at Biddle, Ness volunteers at the Northshore Senior Center, working at the coffee shop, sweeping outside and doing other tasks as needed.
"I’ve seen him in action at 7 a.m. and I believe he is the most productive landscape worker they’ve got," said his friend Ed Lincoln. "Even though he is in his 90's, it is obvious he is not slowing down."
Ness said he plans on staying active and helping out whenever he can.
"I live in a great community and believe it's important to give back," he said. "Volunteering keeps the world going."