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Employee of the Century

Employee of the Century
Arthur Winston (100-year-old): Worked for 72 years at the same company and only took one day off

A Los Angeles Metro employee for 72 years, Arthur Winston (1906 - 2006) was known for being honored as the "Employee of the Century" because he was never late to work and only took one day off during his entire career, that being for his wife's funeral in 1988. He retired at age 100. 

As a boy Winston was born and grew up in Oklahoma before it became a state. His first job was at the age of 10 as a cotton picker. In 1918 his family moved west to California because of dust storms ruining their crops. He graduated from LA's Jefferson High School in 1922. He then began working for the Los Angeles Railway for four years before quitting because a black man could not drive a bus.

However, he returned to work in January 1934 for the Los Angeles Railway, and worked there continuously until his 100th birthday on March 22, 2006, missing only one day of work when his wife died. His hourly salary was originally 41 cents an hour. "We ate and slept. You couldn't get rich on that, but you lived," Winston told KNX Newsradio.

In 1925, he married Frances Smith. The couple had four children and five grandchildren.

He stayed with the agency through its name changes, starting from the Los Angeles Railway which became Los Angeles Transit Lines in 1945, to the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority created in 1958, the Southern California Rapid Transit District created in 1964, and as it is known today Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority "Metro" created in 1993.

In 1996, President Bill Clinton awarded him with an "Employee of the Century" citation for his work ethic and dedication. He is the most reliable worker that the United States Department of Labor has ever chronicled. He worked for 72 years without ever being late, and only took a single day off work (in 1988 for the funeral of his wife Frances).

Winston died of heart failure in his sleep at his home in Los Angeles on April 13, 2006 at around 8:00 p.m., less than one month after his retirement.

He attributed his work ethic to his upbringing, asserting that his father taught him the value of hard work at an early age. Upon his retirement on his 100th birthday, he stated that he was planning to visit his 98-year-old brother in Tennessee and had the intention of remaining active in various endeavors. "I'm going to keep active. I can't afford to just sit down. I wouldn't do that," he said. "I don't drink and I don't smoke, so I feel alright."

The busyard in Leimert Park (SB-5; Arthur Winston/Midcities) was named in his honor in Los Angeles.


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