Veteran Louisville UPS driver among safest in country
A Louisville man has spent most of his life making sure your gifts and packages get where they need to go on time. The local driver is considered one of the safest in the country.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Louisville man has spent most of his life making sure your gifts and packages get where they need to go on time. The local driver is considered one of the safest in the country.
Dressed in his UPS best, 75-year-old Cleveland Francis started at the company when he was 24. "[There was an] ad in the paper and I applied for it."
UPS had only recently set up shop locally. There were about 25 drivers when he first to went to work downtown. Francis is now among 21,000 employees in Louisville.
"Tremendous growth. It's just unbelievable that it would grow that much over the years," Francis said.
However, Francis' concern is him and his rig. He arrives at the UPS Center on Outer Loop to drive the same route to Tennessee and back every day.
What he lacks in words, he makes up for in miles. "It's about 2,980 miles a week and it's about 150,000 a year, average," Francis said.
In 48 years, he hasn't had an accident. "Oh yeah, sometimes you get pretty close but luckily no contacts," he said.
UPS keeps track, recognizing the drivers who go at least 25 years accident free. "It can be something as simple as a scratch on the side of a package car, it can be a little nick on the mirror, it can be a rub on the tire. Even those things count as accidents when we're talking about safe driving," says Nancy Barczak, Employee Communications Supervisor for UPS Ohio Valley District.
Francis ranks as the third safest driver in the country at UPS. "It's amazing to be honest with you. It's a very elite group. The gentlemen who make it into the Circle of Honor, that is anyone who has 25 years of safe driving and for Cleve to go this far, 48 years, and I think headed for 50, it's truly remarkable. There's very few people in the entire country who have that honor," Barczak said.
Francis has seen a lot out on the road. "Most of it is distractions and cell phones," Francis said.
He still makes those 600 mile daily turns look like a trip around the block. "It's a mental thing to a certain extent. You've got to enjoy it, but no, it doesn't get boring. It's something different every day," Francis said.
Retirement isn't in view because he has more miles to travel, hours to clock and packages to deliver, all in a safe and steady day's work.
"I think about it more than I used to, but I've been pretty fortunate health-wise and equipment good and still enjoy driving, so no big rush I don't guess," Francis said.
A driver from Michigan was ranked number one, with 55 years experience and more than five million packages delivered without an accident, followed by a delivery driver in New York City.
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