Years of service: 8
Family: Wife and three kids
While working as a high school principal in Togo, Komi Afoutou won the Visa lottery. So, the recently married 32-year-old and his wife packed their bags. When they immigrated to the United States, however, it was in 2008 during the depths of the Great Recession.
“We wanted to seek something better, the American Dream,” Afoutou said. “We had to move five times in one year, trying to find opportunity.”
In New York, Afoutou sought a Commercial Drivers License so he could get a job as school bus driver.
When he returned to Minnesota, he worked at Team Transit and Metro Mobility. In 2021, he asked a bus operator friend about Metro Transit.
“He told me there was room to advance here and how impressed he was with the system,” Afoutou said. “A year later, I was working at Metro Transit as a bus operator.”
In 2018, he found his chance to not only advance, but return to his life’s passion as an instructor. “I knew I wanted to get back into what I love: education,” he said.
As an instructor, Afoutou helps new bus operators learn the job and helps long-time operators freshen up their skills. He finds that teaching operators is like his previous job, but it presents new challenges.
“Adult education requires a very different approach than when teaching teenagers,” he said. “You work with people from all ages, backgrounds, and experiences, sometimes greater than your own.”
Throughout his journey from Togo to transit, one guiding principle that helped him achieve the American Dream. “Be humble and help people whenever you get the opportunity,” Afoutou said.
Today, he owns a home and is raising a family. He also built a home for his mother back in Togo and supports his family any way he can.
Drivers start at more than $21 per hour – even during training – and receive outstanding benefits, including health care, annual salary increases, a pension plan, an unlimited-ride bus pass and a $1,000 hiring bonus. To learn more and apply, visit metrotransit.org/drive.