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Metro Transit Division

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Metro celebrates its Bus Operator of the Year

Operator of the Year Johnny Wade and base supervisor Pete DeLeyser

Johnny Wade (above) is surprised last Friday by family, co-workers, and his base supervisor Pete DeLeyser. "Ive had a lot of jobs, but this is the best job Ive ever had," Wade told them. For more than 32 years he's concentrated on giving his passengers the best ride possible. He now drives Sound Transit Express Route 565, operated by Metro, between Bellevue and Federal Way.

It's one of the best-kept secrets of the year, so Johnny Wade did not suspect anything when he was taken off the road mid-route last Friday and told to report to an important meeting at the Metro Training Center in Tukwila. Waiting there were several hundred people. He walked into the room and was immediately swarmed by his great-grand nieces who were too excited to wait to give him congratulatory hugs and kisses. He then waded into the crowd to shake hands with other operators and embrace his family and friends.

Everyone was there to honor Wade as Metros Bus Operator of the Year for 2001. The Boulevard Park resident has been driving buses in the greater Seattle area for almost 32 years, with a 20-year safe driving record. Read the full story on Johnny Wade.

Wade pre-dates Metro, since he was one of the Seattle Transit drivers absorbed into the agency when Metro was created in 1973. Metro Transit General Manager Rick Walsh said Wade trained him to drive a bus back when Walsh first joined the agency around that time. "Its not far from the truth that he taught me everything I needed to know throughout my entire career," said Walsh.

"Johnny is an outstanding driver," said his base supervisor Pete DeLeyser. "Twice he tried supervision and both times he decided to return to driving, because he loves people and missed the everyday interaction with his passengers. Johnny will give you a smile from ear to ear every day. He comes to work every day with a positive and professional attitude."

"Johnny is well-known throughout the system," said Base Chief Marilyn Davis. "There is no one who hears the name Johnny Wade who doesnt know who he is. Hes garnered respect and appreciation from all who know him."

Wade was most surprised when told that his wife Dorothy, herself a retired transit operator, had kept the secret for two months. "No way!" he exclaimed.

Updated: Nov. 26, 2002