She's one of only 42 active UPS drivers – and the first woman – to earn a patch for four decades of accident-free driving.
Ginny Odom got behind the wheel of a UPS truck for the first time in 1973 and proceeded to drive 4 million accident-free miles over 40 years. She is the top female driver in UPS's Circle of Honor, which recognizes drivers who have 25 years or more of accident-free driving. She is one of only 42 active UPS drivers – and the first woman – to earn a patch for four decades of accident-free driving. Here, she answers some questions about her career and milestone, plus offers a few tips on safe driving.
UPS driver travels 4 million miles accident-free. Hear stories from the road and get safe-driving tips.
Q: What does the 40-year patch mean to you?
A: It means 40 years of hard work. There have been a lot of near misses.
Q: How has UPS helped you achieve this milestone?
A: UPS has helped me by being a great company to work for and with rigorous training. Every day, it's just like a drill sergeant teaching you: Look at your mirrors, watch your gauges, watch what's going on around you, look out well ahead of you.
Q: What do you think is a core quality of UPS Circle of Honor drivers?
A: They've had a lot of luck to make it into the Circle of Honor. It comes from being focused, and it comes from doing your job. In order to get into the Circle of Honor, it takes a lot of determination and willpower. And I think the training that you get at UPS makes you a better driver.
Q: When you started out as a driver, what was your goal?
A: When I first started at UPS, my goal was to get through my first 30 days. And after that, I never set very many goals because it is a hard job. As the years go on, the job gets a little bit easier. And you never let your guard down because you never know, from one day to the next, what it's going to be like. I never realized that I'd make it for 40 years. It's definitely been a goal to get there.
Q: What did you think when you found out you were the first woman to reach this milestone?
A: It's good to think that I am the first female who's got the 40 years, but I think it'll be great when there are others who come along and do the same thing. It's not easy, but it can be done. I admire anyone who's right there with me.
Q: How do you feel about being in the Circle of Honor?
A: I'm very proud because it is a hard honor to get, because there are so many little things that can take that away from you. By just backing up the wrong way and nicking the front of a trailer, you've lost it. So I am very proud, and it is an honor to be where I am at today.
Q: Does it surprise you whenever one of these milestones passes?
A: It surprises me very much that I've made it this far. It really does. When I got to 30 years, I thought, "Well, that's kind of neat." And then when I got to 35, I thought, "Well, that's great." And now that I'm at 40, "I guess it's time to retire!"