Above and Beyond

Samuel Garrison

Indianapolis recognizes safe million mile member

Few people can say that they’ve worked at the same job for 46 years; fewer still have done that as a bus driver. And very few can say that they’ve had a completely safe driving record for the last 35 years of city bus driving. Yet, Samuel Garrison, 1070-Indianapolis, IN, can say all three.

Brother Garrison recently received the “Million Mile Award” from Indianapolis Public Transportation in recognition of his sterling record.

‘Pay attention’

And how did he do it?  Garrison’s modest response is, “Well, you just go to work every day, do your job, and do the best you can.” When pressed, however, the veteran operator elaborates, “You’ve got to pay attention to what you’re doing, practice defensive driving, and follow the rules and regulations.”

‘People always pull in front of you’

Those defensive driving techniques have come in handy. “People always pull in front of you,” he explains. “They always think they can drive a lot faster than a bus.”

Garrison has seen a lot of changes over the years. Incredibly, some buses had neither air conditioning nor heat when he started in 1967 – and there was no power steering!  He believes air brakes have made buses safer.

One of the secrets to the bus driver’s success seems to be the sympathy he shows to his less than polite passengers.  “A lot of people today,” he says, “have a lot of things playing on their nerves, such as no jobs, and no money.”  He contends that passengers who give him a hard time when they board, leave on a friendly basis  and often apologize.

Advice for young drivers

The advice he gives young drivers today is simple.  “When people come on your bus and say something [mean or threatening] to you – keep your mouth quiet.  It takes two to act crazy.”

That philosophy has served Garrison well for over four decades.   He turned 80 in November, and isn’t planning to retire anytime soon.

The ATU salutes Garrison for his milestone and more importantly for serving as a role model for his fellow drivers.

Above & Beyond Honor Roll