Seventy-year-old Walmart truck driver, George Hart, is ending his career on a high note.- After reaching 4-million accident-free miles, he’s hanging up the keys.
Hart began his career as a truck driver in 1962. At the time, he drove a B61 Mack with 2 gear shifters in it.
“I used to haul watermelons. That was a great time. You’d go out and load them in the field, and you unloaded them by hand. We’d pass them down the truck, from person to person all the way down the trailer and load them into shopping carts. Wouldn’t get but maybe 3-4 in a shopping cart,” Hart recalls.
In 1981, Hart made a decision that would change the course of his life. He signed on to drive for Walmart.
“I’ve enjoyed it from day 1. I enjoy working with the people. I’ve seen a lot of them come and go and a lot of them retire,” Hart told CDLLife.
“I enjoyed [trucking] more when I came to work here more than anywhere else. Everyone you work with is part of your life here. They’re like family to you.”
In 1984, Walmart began keeping track of drivers’ miles and Hart quickly began to rack up the accident-free miles. He says driving for Walmart made it easier to reach so many safe-driving miles.
“This is a great job with good equipment. We keep up our equipment. Walmart gets new equipment every 600,000 miles. Everything is well maintained so you’re not spending time on the road broke down. Walmart has a good maintenance program,” Hart said.
Good equipment, a supportive, caring staff and safety are key to reaching this significant milestone, Hart said.
“When I reached 3 million miles, Walmart let me pick own my own truck. An International. I had it painted the wheat color with green stripes,” Hart recalls.
When he hit 4-million accident-free miles, Hart was driving a beautiful long-nose Peterbilt. It’s custom painted red with gold stripes.
Hart told CDLLife that in order to reach 4-million safe miles, he just took it one mile at a time. “Be safe everyday. Have other people in mind when you’re out there. Don’t just think of yourself. Think of other people too. You know what you’re going to do but you don’t know what everyone else is going to do. Just take it 1 mile at a time. That’s all you can do.
“Everybody is in a hurry to get somewhere. The thing about it is that the place you’re going to is still going to be there when you get there.You’ve just got to have the right mindset of knowing what you’re doing,” he said.
On March 6, 2015, Hart will retire from Walmart and from his 53-yearlong career as a professional driver.
But Hart says he’s not planning to slow down. He and his wife purchased a home in Springfield, Missouri. He said they plan on making frequent trips to Branson to take in some shows, travel and visit family.
“And my wife has a long honey-do list for me,” Hart chuckled.
“I’ll miss the people I miss the most. They’ve been like a family. I’ve really enjoyed working with each and every one of them,” Hart said.
Taking one last moment to reflect on his 5-decade career, Hart said, “If I had to do it all over again, I would. I’d work for Walmart again. I’d recommend Walmart to anybody. They’re an awesome company to work for. They treat you like you lke to be treated. You’ve got your home time when you need it. They let you off when you need it.”
“They’re like family,” he concluded.
Thank you for your service, George Hart, and we wish you a very happy retirement.
Photo Courtesy of Walmart