Your bus driver may be the son of an NBA legend, or a musician you may have heard play locally. Your driver may have a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or enjoy being part of regional Pow-wow celebrations. You may also run into your bus driver as they go out fishing or join you on the soccer pitch.
The operators who drive your bus are as unique as you, and all of them love driving and giving back to their community.
Meet your Operators of the Month for November and December 2022.
We love to hear from our riders about their operators! Please leave your comments about our “rolling ambassadors.” Interested in becoming a transit operator? Visit “Start your Metro career” to explore well-paying positions with full benefits and a pension in transit operations, trades, rail operations, customer information and countless other fields.
(Information and photos provided by the operators)
Atlantic Base | November 2022: Anil Dhinda
Anil started as a part-time Operator in 2007 and went full-time in 2009. He has earned multiple Safe Driver Awards and six commendations. He joined King County Metro because he has always had a passion for driving a bus and helping his community.
Born in India, with an associate degree from G.N.D University in India, Anil has lived in the United States since 2003.
Anil is married and has two children.
Anil’s advice to other operators: “Drive safe and cautious.”
Passenger praise: “This operator treats each and every customer with kindness and respect; what is nice is that he always wears a smile, regardless of time of day.”
Atlantic Base | December 2022: Darryl Estes
Darryl started with Metro as a part-time operator in 1996 and has been full-time since 1998. He has received seven commendations and has earned multiple Safe Driver Awards.
Metro was initially a “transitional” job for Darryl, but he stayed because he really enjoys working with people. In addition to driving, Darryl puts his Bachelor of Arts in music education to good use as a part-time musician!
Married to a fellow operator, Darryl spends his free time playing saxophone, gardening and cooking.
Darryl’s advice to other operators: “Luck plays a part in driving, but practicing good driving habits eliminates the need for luck.”
Passenger praise: “This driver saw me running for the bus with hands full with grocery bags and he kindly waited. Thank you!”
Bellevue Base | November 2022: Sandy Garcia
Sandy started driving for Metro in 1985 and is a Safe Driver Award recipient.
Born and raised in West Seattle, Sandy spends her free time taking care of her mother and spends as much time as she can with her grandchildren.
Congrats to Sandy, who is getting ready to retire.
Sandy’s advice to other operators: “We are all on the same team! Show respect and courtesy to your fellow co-workers, especially on the road.”
Bellevue Base | December 2022: Aimoku Nahulu
Aimoku joined Metro as a part-time operator in 1997 and went full-time in 1998. He has earned several Safe Driver Awards.
Born in Hawaii, Aimoku has lived in various places throughout the world. His father retired from the Army in Seattle and Aimoku has been in the Seattle area for more than 30 years.
After being laid off from his job, a friend told Aimoku about Metro, and he’s been driving ever since!
In his free time, Aimoku enjoys traveling, family and friends, hunting and martial arts. He holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Aimoku’s advice to other operators: “Two things define you: Your patience when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything.”
Central Base | November 2022: David Lambert
David joined Metro as a part-time operator in 2010 and has been full-time since 2014. He is a Safe Driving Award recipient and has received four customer commendations.
David, who had worked in roofing, concrete, ink making and shipping and receiving, joined Metro after a neighbor referred him.
Married with four children and two grandchildren, David enjoys golfing, fishing, and coaching.
David’s advice to other operators: “Figure out early what type of operator you want to be, controlling or having peace of mind.”
Passenger praise: “Driver was very nice and sweet and assisted me with getting my scooter off the bus and up the street.”
Central Base | December 2022: Wai-Lun Chan
Wai-Lun Chan has earned several Safe Driving Awards and has received two customer commendations.
Born in Hong Kong, Wai-Lun came to the United States in 1996. His parents soon followed and came to live with him after they retired. He attended City University and received a Bachelor of Science in Information System and Technology.
Wai-Lun joined Metro because it was a chance to serve to community and he enjoys driving and controlling large vehicles. He’s married with two children and says his children give him the power to do his best every day!
In his free time, Wai-Lun enjoys fishing, hiking, watching sports and hanging out with friends and family.
Wai-Lun’s advice to other operators: “Go find your ways to become more relaxed and easygoing.”
East Base | November 2022: Lisa Nault
Lisa started with Metro as a part-time operator in 1992 has been full-time in 1997. She has earned several Safe Driver Awards and many customer commendations. Lisa has also been active in ATU Local 587 for 30 years.
Born in Seattle, Lisa attended Bellevue College and received an associate of arts in business administration.
Lisa is active in the Seattle-area Native American, Alaskan native and Filipino communities.
Lisa has a daughter, granddaughter and many nieces and nephews. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors, cooking, baking, attending pow-wows and spending time with her family.
Lisa’s advice to other operators: “Drive one block at a time.”
Passenger praise: “The driver was extremely professional and showed exceptional care while driving, making extra effort to avoid sudden changes in speed or direction.”
East Base | December 2022: Jacob Russell
Jacob started with Metro as a part-time operator in 2007 and has been full-time since 2008. He has earned multiple Safe Driver Awards and six customer commendations.
Jacob is the second son of NBA legend Bill Russell! Born in Melrose, Massachusetts he attended The Art Institute of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
Married with four children, Jacob spends his free time restoring vintage bicycles, and building plastic models. He’s also a musician, where he plays tuba and bass in a band with fellow Metro operators.
Jacob’s advice to other operators: “Don’t let the schedule drive the bus. Treat people the way you want to be treated, be kind. When you have a bad day, make a gratitude list and remind yourself that life is good.”
Passenger praise: “I’ve been riding with this driver for a while and I appreciate that he’s consistent, friendly, and effective.”
North Base |November 2022: Lee Coutermarsh
Lee has been with Metro since 2001. He started as a part-time operator and in 2005 became a full-time operator.
Lee is a Safe Driver Award recipient and has received two commendations from his customers.
Lee’s advice to other operators: “When things go bad, don’t go with them.”
Passenger praise: “Great driver! He waited for me while I was running to get on and was super helpful.”
North Base | December 2022: Sherif Ibrahim
Sherif started with Metro in 2016 and went from part-time to full-time in the same year. A recipient of multiple Safe Driver Awards, he has also received five customer commendations.
Born in Egypt, Sherif served 15 years in the Egyptian army.
Married, with three kids, Sherif enjoys using his spare time to watch soccer.
Sherif’s advice to other operators: “By long forbearance, a ruler is persuaded and a gentle tongue breaks a bone.”
Passenger praise: “A man was at a stop who fell over and the driver got off the bus and helped him up and onto the bus. I’ve never seen anyone do this and was amazed at his kindness.”
Ryerson Base | November 2022: Jimmy Januto
Jimmy joined Metro as a part-time operator in 1998 and went full-time in 2000. Along with his five customer commendations, Jimmy has received multiple Safe Driver Awards.
Jimmy was born in the Philippines and came to the US in 1982. He’s a veteran, joining the military shortly after high school.
Married with two children, Jimmy enjoys working out, traveling and property investment.
Jimmy’s advice to other operators: “Be safe. Show up to work and be courteous to the passengers.”
Passenger praise: “Our driver was kind and patient. It started my day off right to see such compassion for one of our most troubled neighbors.”
Ryerson Base | December 2022: Sileshi Abebe
Sileshi went from part-time operator to full-time operator in 2019, earning Safe Driver awards and three customer commendations.
Sileshi was born in Ethiopia and came to the United States in 2013. Before joining Metro, he drove for Uber, First Student and semi-trucks.
In his free time, Sileshi enjoys watching soccer.
Sileshi’s advice to other operators: “Love your work and drive safely.”
Passenger praise: “Excellent, efficient service. Safe driver and friendly too. Thanks for the ride!”
South Base | November 2022: Lawrence Hernandez
Lawrence started at Metro as a part-time operator in 2003 and went full-time in 2009. He has earned numerous Safe Driver Awards and three commendations.
Lawrence was born in Fresno, CA. and attended Nampa High School in Idaho. Lawrence is a U.S. Army veteran and is retired from the United States Postal Service.
Happily married for close to 40 years, Lawrence and his wife have two sons. In his free time, he enjoys riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle and traveling with his wife.
Lawrence’s advice to other operators: “Have a positive attitude, be kind and respectful.”
Passenger praise: “Lawrence is very conscientious and kind. Thanks for letting him know how good we think he is as a driver.”
South Base | December 2022: Tyrone Freeman
Tyrone started at Metro as a part-time operator in 2010 and has been full-time since 2012. He has earned multiple Safe Driver Awards and has received three commendations.
Tyrone was born in Youngstown, Ohio and received a full-ride scholarship to play football at Johnson C. Smith University, a Historically Black University (HBCU). Tyrone attended Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center in the Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina where he received his carpentry degree.
Tyrone, who moved to Washington in 2000, is a former truck driver and school bus driver.
Happily married with many children, Tyrone enjoys using his free time fishing, going to casinos, playing bingo and watching football.
Tyrone’s advice to other operators: “Have a positive attitude, be kind and respectful.”
Passenger praise: “He is courteous and professional and once, when my wife was running for the bus and only half a block away, he waited the few seconds for her to catch the bus.”
Every month, operators from King County Metro’s seven transit bases select an Operator of the Month. Each demonstrates safe driving skills, are courteous and helpful, and pays conscientious attention to attendance, appearance and discipline. Please join us in congratulating them.
Our Operators of the Month later vote on who among them will be Metro’s Operator of the Year!