We’ve got rock and rollers and athletes from every sport. One applied to drive for Metro as soon as he turned 21, another is blazing the trail for his replacement behind the wheel – his grandson wants to join Metro!
Together these 14 drivers represent almost two centuries of driving experience.
Meet your Operators of the Month for November and December 2021.
Every month, operators from King County Metro’s seven transit bases select their fellow drivers for their positive contributions to Metro and recognize them as Operators of the Month. The operators selected demonstrate safe driving skills, show courteous and helpful attitudes toward customers, and pay conscientious attention to attendance, appearance, and discipline.
Please join us in congratulating them. The Operators of the Month have the privilege of coming together later to vote on who among them will be Metro’s Operator of the Year!
(Information and photos provided by the operators)
Atlantic Base | November 2021: Terry Moon
Terry was hired as a part-time operator in 1994 and went full-time in 1997. He has earned a 25-year Safe Driver Award and 29 commendations.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Terry became a transit operator because of his passion for public service. Married for 45 years, Terry has three adult children and seven grandchildren. In his spare time, he enjoys woodworking and fixing things in general.
Terry’s advice to other operators:
“Stay humble to the process. Be good to yourself and it’s easy to be good to others.”
“Our driver was incredibly friendly to everyone who boarded. It made my morning to be greeted with a genuine smile and ‘hello.’”
Atlantic Base | December 2021: Thane Mitchell
Thane has been a part-time operator since 2012. He’s earned a seven-year Safe Driver Award and 11 commendations. Thane is also a past recipient of the George Turner Award, which is presented by the Northwest Chapter of Paralyzed Veterans Association to recognize and show appreciation for transit operators who best exemplify a positive attitude and awareness of the needs of the elderly and disabled in our communities.
Born and raised in Seattle, Thane studied classical percussion at Central Washington University and left school to join a touring rock band. He also owns a scuba company that specializes in removing invasive plants.
Thane became a transit operator because a part-time job with health benefits was exactly what he needed.
In addition to playing music year-round and scuba diving seasonally, Thane enjoys traveling, reading, gardening, and spending time with his family and friends. He has been married since 1998 and has two daughters and a granddaughter.
Thane’s advice to other operators:
“Be firm, but nice. Choose your battles, get lots of sleep, don’t drive trolleys your first year, shuffle steer (I’ve had shoulder surgery), and slow down.”
“He drove with finesse, and there was a sense of urgency to his driving which I appreciated very much.”
Bellevue Base | November 2021: Latrelle Gibson
Latrelle started as a part-time operator in 2001 and went full-time in 2005. He has earned an 18-year Safe Driver Award and three commendations.
Born in San Diego, Latrelle grew up in 12 different foster homes. His visits to his aunt in Seattle convinced him to move here after graduating high school.
Latrelle’s love of buses lead him to apply with Metro as soon as he had the opportunity at age 21. Two decades later, he’s still truckin’ (or bussin’) along, with no regrets.
Latrelle loves traveling, dining out, spending time with family and friends, and operating Metro’s MEHVA historic fleet.
Latrelle’s advice to other operators:
“Service and schedule never come before your safety, no matter what you’re told. Remember: Safety, Service, Schedule. Safety always comes first.”
“He is very polite, respectful, helpful, and an amazing driver.”
Bellevue Base | December 2021: York Thao
York was hired as a part-time operator in 2016 and went full-time in 2017. He has earned a four-year Safe Driver Award and one commendation.
York was born in Kirkland and attended Bellevue College. He became a transit operator for the financial and career opportunities.
Married, with two sons, York enjoys aquascaping — maintaining plants and aquarium fish.
York’s advice to other operators:
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt
“He is very funny, happy, and an overall joy on the bus.”
Central Base | November 2021: Vincent Quintinita
Hired as a part-time operator in 2015, Vince has been full-time in September since 2016 and has earned a five-year Safe Driver Award and one commendation.
Born in Vigan City, The Philippines, Vince has a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from the University of Northern Philippines.
Moving to the U.S. in 2009, Vince worked two jobs. His original plan was to stay at Metro for a few months, but he enjoys interacting with the public and found Metro to be a good place to work.
Vince loves gardening, enjoying nature, and having fun with his friends. Recently engaged, Vince plans to get married this year!
Vincent’s advice to other operators:
“Some people will treat you bad, but don’t let that dictate how to do you.”
“My Metro driver remained calm during a stressful situation.”
Central Base | December 2021: Michelle Muied
Michelle has been full-time operator since 2019 and has earned four commendations.
Born in Anderson, Indiana, Michelle has always been fascinated with driving large vehicles. She’s discovered that it was a forum to do what she loves: meet and help others.
Married “to the most wonderful man” for over 24 years, Michelle has two adult sons and four grandchildren.
When not driving Michelle loves cooking and cleaning and destroying her husband in the video game Coin Master.
Michelle’s advice to other operators:
“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind always. It cost nothing. We all can afford to give kindness.”
“She brightened my hectic Monday by greeting all incoming and exiting passengers.”
East Base | November 2021: Bonnie Robinson
Bonnie was hired as a part-time operator in 2016 and went full-time in 2017. She has earned a six-year Safe Driver Award and 127 commendations.
A native of Puyallup, Bonnie drove professionally for 15 years before becoming a transit operator because she loves being around people.
In her spare time, Bonnie enjoys horseback riding and bowling.
Bonnie’s Advice to other operators
“Have fun, enjoy your day, don’t forget to smile, and leave your work life at work.”
“Really nice driver. She helped me figure out the correct route to take and did so with a smile.”
East Base | December 2021: Duron Travis
Duron was hired as a part-time operator in 2008. He has earned an 11-year Safe Driver Award and five commendations.
Born in Detroit, Duron’s background is in the building trades and property management. He became a transit operator because he likes driving and meeting new people.
Married for 15 years, Duron has two boys with who he enjoys talking with and teaching. His favorite hobby is playing the saxophone.
Duron’s advice to other operators:
“The ‘who’ is more important than the ‘why’, so take care of yourself!”
“He was very kind and made all of the stops. I am very thankful for such a kind and accommodating driver.”
North Base | November 2021: Daniel Habtemichael
Daniel was hired as a part-time operator in 2016 and went full-time in 2018. He has earned a four-year Safe Driver Award and seven commendations.
Daniel was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he attended both elementary and high school. He earned a BA degree in Business Administration from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan.
Daniel loves one-on-one interaction with people and enjoys providing great service to the community. He believes driving for Metro is a great way to meet people from all walks of life.
In his spare time, Daniel enjoys reading, taking long walks, and meditation.
Daniel’s advice to other operators:
“Being patient and a little bit of kindness goes a long way.”
“The driver went above and beyond to guide me. I arrived at my destination just in time.”
North Base | December 2021: Benjamin Duncan
Benjamin was hired as a part-time operator in June 2016 and has been full-time since 2017. He has earned a five-year Safe Driver Award and four commendations.
Benjamin knew his dad had a great life driving for Metro before Benjamin was born, and his father would make fun of Benjamin’s paycheck and tell him that he could make more money driving a bus for Metro.
Born and raised in Seattle, Benjamin has an associate degree in communications from Shoreline Community College.
Benjamin was a student-athlete growing up, and baseball was his passion. He still plays baseball, but also enjoys golf, reading books on building wealth, trying new foods, and learning about cars.
Benjamin’s advice to other operators:
“Let’s drive the bus, don’t let the bus drive you. Use the happy passengers to help evaporate awkward moments.”
“Our driver always has a great attitude. He is an awesome driver.”
Ryerson Base | November 2021: Cherinet Gebremichael
Cherinet was hired as a part-time operator in 2017 and has been full-time since 2018. He has earned a three-year Safe Driver Award and three commendations.
Originally from Nazret, Ethiopia, after immigrating to the United States. Cherinet began driving for the Seattle Times, then spent 17 years as an owner-operator of an 18-wheeler. He became a Metro operator to grow and develop his driving skills with the region’s leading transit agency. Cherinet’s passion for transportation, safety, and customer service, combined with his years of driving experience, made working for Metro the perfect next step in his career path.
Cherinet is married with two children. He enjoys soccer, biking, and traveling.
Cherinet’s advice to other operators:
“Try to enjoy each day on the job to the fullest! There’s always something new every day.”
“He is very friendly and professional.”
Ryerson Base | December 2021: Drake DeGrate
Drake was hired as a part-time operator in 1986 and went full-time in April 1990. He has earned a 32-year Safe Driver Award and two commendations.
Drake is originally from Portland. His son’s aunt was a job recruiter for Metro and encouraged him to relocate to Seattle and apply for an operator position—that was 35 years ago, and he has been with Metro ever since!
Drake is married with three children. He enjoys fitness, sports, word games, and cars.
Drake’s advice to other operators:
“Be kind to your fellow operators, have patience and compassion while dealing with the public and the demands within your schedule, and your mirrors are your best friends…USE THEM!”
“I had a great driver today. He was both professional and courteous.”
South Base | November 2021: Mechelle Penny
Mechelle started as a part-time operator in 1999 and has been full-time since 2001. She has earned a 17-year Safe Driver Award and 25 commendations.
Born in Oakland, and raised by her grandmother in Oklahoma City, Mechelle is a graduate of Seattle Central College, where she studied to be a child social worker.
After working for Boeing and driving trucks in Oregon and Washington, Mechelle became a transit operator because she likes driving and helping people.
A mother of two daughters, a grandmother of two, and a great grandmother of three boys, Mechelle enjoys walking, socializing, tennis, and a good movie. Mechelle also loves to travel, she recently went to Mexico for the first time and loved it!!
Mechelle’s advice to other operators:
“You always want to be kind and courteous because you never know what people are going through.”
“She is always outgoing and kind. She takes care of the passengers in a gentle manner.”
South Base | December 2021: Richard Thompson
Richard was hired as a part-time operator in 1996 and went full-time in 1998. He has earned a 21-year Safe Driver Award and four commendations.
Richard is a native of Pennsylvania and served in the Air Force for 5 years. He moved from San Francisco to Seattle in 1995 to be closer to family, using Metro to get around. Operators talked him into applying to work at Metro!
Married for 26 years, Richard has one daughter, three grandsons (the oldest wants to come to Metro) and one granddaughter. In his free time, Richard enjoys model railroading, bingo, and playing in league and tournament bowling. Richard has traveled across the U.S. to bowl in tournaments.
Richard’s advice to other operators:
“Give respect to get respect.”
“The driver is nothing short of amazing. He is safe, polite, and clearly enjoys the work he does.”
Loved getting to know these people that make so many others’ lives easier!
Nice to see this feature again! Missed seeing those photos.
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