By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post
Southwest Chicago Post
There were about 81,000 car crashes in Chicago last year.
But don’t blame Laverne Foltz.
The Garfield Ridge mother of two—and grandmother of four—is one of the safest drivers you’ll find anywhere. That matters because in a typical year, Laverne puts about 2,500 miles on her UPS delivery truck.
|Lavene Foltz behind the wheel.|
In fact, Laverne has amassed a 25-year, accident-free record of driving for the company many know fondly as Big Brown.
What’s more amazing is she drives accident free in the Loop, the most challenging, nerve-wracking part of the city for any driver, especially one who has to make frequent stops and quickly jump on and off her 25,000-pound truck.
Laverne grew up in Garfield Ridge, attending St. Jane de Chantal School and then Kennedy High School, where she graduated in 1983.
She later attended Daley College and began studying accounting, but found the field a bit dull for her tastes.
As a single mom raising two daughters, she first landed a job as a package sorter working the midnight shift at the UPS facility just southwest of the Loop, in 1989. Later, she found her way behind the wheel.
And it’s been quite a ride, in more ways than one.
She’s seen a few tense and exciting moments: police chases, movie shoots, protest marches and even a few free spirited characters.
“One day, I’m driving my truck and I see a man dressed up like Superman, walking down the street,” Laverne recalled. “And he’s acting like he’s Superman—pretending to hold up light poles, posing for pictures with people.
“Then there was a time when I’m driving and I saw a man dressed up like a New Year’s baby. All he wore was a big diaper and a top hat, and he carried this big clock so you knew he was the New Year’s baby. Then he sits down right in the middle of Wells Street by Randolph, blocking traffic. But it wasn’t even New Year’s Day. It was nice outside,” she added with a laugh. “So yeah, you see a lot downtown that you may not see on other routes.”
Laverne’s achievement welcomes her into an elite group at UPS, the Circle of Honor--employees with 25 years or more driving with UPS and without a single accident. This year, the company inducted 1,495 drivers into the Circle of Honor. Made up of drivers across four continents, the most recent inductees (including Laverne) amassed a total of 37,375 years of safe driving. Globally, more than 10,500 active UPS drivers are members of the Circle of Honor.
“I love my job, and I truly enjoy working for this company,” she said. “It’s interesting, and it keeps me moving. And for the most part, my customers are very often some of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet. It’s a pleasure to serve their needs.”
So what’s Laverne’s secret of safe driving?
“My best advice is to count 1…2…3 after the light changes,” she said. “There’s always someone who drives through a red light. If you start driving the minute the light turns green, there’s a possibility you could be hit. Also, if you’re running behind on time, don’t try to make up for it by driving faster than you should. There’s no substitute for safety. And expect the unexpected.”
Congratulations, Laverne. I’m sure your daughters, Christina and Erica, and your grandchildren, Kaycee, Julian, Joell and Jayden, are proud of you, as they should be.
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