Twenty years ago, bus operator Gene Freeman came to work for the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).
More than 500,000 miles later, Freeman hasn't been involved in one work-related accident in all that time or had a passenger complaint lodged against him.
Freeman was one of 45 top operators honored at an awards banquet for compiling a perfect minimum five-year safety and customer service record and remaining injury-free on-the- job.
Those honored received the "Best of the Best Award."
"I guess I'm lucky," said Freemen who drives Line 17 out of South Bay to LAX. The diligence and professionalism required to maintain a perfect driving and safety record "is just part of the job," he said.
To qualify for the "Best of the Best" award, an operator's record must be entirely free of accidents, customer complaints and workplace injuries for the fiscal years 1994 through 1999.
Each of the 45 honorees received a commemorative plaque and a voucher for a special uniform jacket with the "Best of the Best" slogan embroidered on it.
"You've my job easy," said Deborah Guy MTA's risk management director told the honorees. "When you're on the road, I don't have anything to worry about."