This bus driver has driven for forty years without an accident, and he’s accomplished that with dozens of children on board.
Wednesday night, 62-year-old driver of Clovis Unified School District, Abel “Mikey” Merino, was honored for his decades of safety and service.
He’s been a bus driver for the district since 1978.
“I’ve worked here more than half my life, so this has definitely been my second family,” Merino says.
In the past forty years, he’s driven millions of miles and transported thousands of children.
“My first five years (were) hard because I wasn’t too much older than they were,” he says.
In the past four decades, he’s never once had an accident.
“We’ve been asking around, and we thought that was pretty significant. We cannot find anyone who remembers recognizing a school bus driver for that length of service and that length of accident free driving,” says Kelly Avants, CUSD chief communications officer.
Merino was honored, along with a few other Clovis school bus drivers by the district and California Highway Patrol with “Safe Driver” Awards.
He says his secret is to tune out the distractions when he’s behind the wheel, adding working with kids isn’t a problem.
“There’s no such thing as a bad kid,” he prefaces. “Some are priveleged, some aren’t. Some come from bad neighborhoods and bad upbringing, but they’re all good kids.”
Merino says he’s not ready to hang up the keys just yet. “I just renewed my license so I’ll see where the next five years takes me and go from there.”