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One Million Safe Miles

Not being one who frequents our local Social Security Administration office, I didn’t quite know what to expect when I took my mother-in-law there to change her address. She recently relocated from Tennessee to Florida to live with us and needed to update her information. For the uninformed (and assuming you have a valid email address), this whole process can be done online and takes about five minutes.

The kiosk issued us a ticket: Q29. Almost two hours later, a voice came over the loudspeaker and called “Q29.” I felt like I had won the lottery!

My new friend, David, had his number called about ten minutes prior. He was the gentleman sitting on the back row wearing a dapper straw fedora hat. He had taken the day off work, needing to correct an error regarding his account. Not working meant he wasn’t getting paid. He wasn’t too happy about that.

Originally from Guyana, he moved to the United States when he was about to start high school. For most of his life, he has been a cross-country truck driver. For the last fifteen or so years, he has worked mainly in Central Florida driving for JB Hunt.

I asked about what crazy things he has seen as a truck driver. You’ll have to trust me — he’s seen some pretty crazy things. We talked about driving across the Rocky Mountains and how to not burn out your brakes. He said one of the most challenging spots to drive is through Kingman, Arizona, on I-40. Arizona? Isn’t it all flat and really hot? If that’s what you think, you’ve not been to northern Arizona.

As we talked, he mentioned he had recently returned from a company awards ceremony. JB Hunt is one of the largest trucking companies in the United States, operating more than 21,000 trucks at a time. That’s quite a few big rigs. On average, each truck will log approximately 100,000 miles per year. For comparison sake, most leased vehicles will cap your annual mileage at either 12,000 or 15,000 miles.

The annual awards ceremony recognizes what JB Hunt calls their “One Million Safe Miles” drivers. Each driver will have their name etched onto the Million Mile Wall. This year, 84 new names were etched alongside 4,600 other drivers. My new friend, David, was a One Million Safe Mile driver.

That means … no accidents, speeding tickets, or even parking tickets for one million miles. Assuming 100,000 miles per year – that’s ten years of 100% safe driving.

As he told me everything that JB Hunt did to recognize his achievement, I thought, “That’s the way a company should treat their best employees.” He was beaming with pride, not at his achievement, but for his company. He was proud to work for JB Hunt.

In today’s business climate, it’s not often that employees will stick with a company long enough to reach that kind of milestone. For me, it reinforced the idea that good companies and good employees go hand-in-hand. Good companies do what is necessary to make good employees better … and when an employee gets better, so does the company.

Although the two-hour wait at the Social Security office was a bit rough on the behind (i.e., plastic chairs), I’m glad to have met David. If you’re ever in Central Florida and see a JB Hunt driver wearing a straw fedora, that’s probably him. Just don’t distract him too much. He’s after his second one million milles.

Experience and Background

  • Professor at Warner University
  • masters in business administration (mba)
  • presenter at the WFX National Conference
  • former president, Church Planters of the Rockies
  • helped start 2 for-profit tech companies

Sermon Videos

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One of the things I enjoy the most is helping individuals or organizations reach their full potential.  It’s been said, “everyone wins when a leader gets better.”

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