Most everyday on my Twitter account, I post a little ditty about trucking. Here was my post from a couple of days ago:
Daily Trucking Tidbit: As you do your Christmas shopping today, remember that every item you see was delivered by a truck driver.
That’s seems fairly benign, doesn’t it? Well, for this, I received a message from a follower (and fellow trucker) that basically told me to check my bloated ego at the door and do my job like every other American worker out there. His point was that lots of workers are responsible for getting a product onto the shelves. Everyone from the forklift driver to the secretary in the front office all do their part in the process. He’s right.
Now here’s my point. How many people do you hear complaining about unsafe forklift drivers ? Ever heard of anyone complaining about the nuisance of having too many secretaries? I didn’t think so. Now when was the last time you heard someone having the same complaints about truckers and trucks?
As I explained in a message to my attacker, I’m not looking for any sympathy out here. I chose this job and I can leave it any time I feel like it (or so I like to tell myself). One of my goals for writing a blog and tweeting my fingers to the bone is to let the general public have a glimpse into the life of a trucker. I’m thinking that the more someone knows about what we go through to deliver the goods that they need and love, the more respect we’ll get, both personally and professionally.
On the personal side, I’m not too worried about what folks think about me as a person. Sure, most people love me because I’m so freakin’ adorable, but even if they didn’t, I wouldn’t slit my wrists over it. What I’m really hoping is for people to give trucks a second thought when they encounter them on the road. Yea, I know. I may as well wish for an obedient wife that hangs on my every word, but hey, what’s life without hopes and dreams?
Think about it. Other than truckers themselves, who are the people who are most helpful to a truck tooling down the road? You know, the car that lets you change lanes in front of them. Or the minivan that stays back from the intersection so you can get around that tight right turn. I’d be willing to bet that the majority of these helpful drivers know a truck driver. I’ve had friends tell me that they pay more attention to trucks nowadays, simply because they know The Evil Overlord and I drive one. How about you, truckers? If you’re anything like me, before I started driving a truck, I hated trucks. Then again, some days I still do.
Nowadays, when I’m off-duty, I help other truckers when I can. Usually it’s just helping a driver merge into traffic or something easy like that, but one time it called for a bit more effort. One cold Christmas day, we stopped to pick up a trucker who had run out of fuel. To make matters worse, he didn’t even have a gas can. As you can imagine, it took quite a while to find a store that was actually open on Christmas, buy the gas can, go fill it up, and take him back to his truck. When the engine wouldn’t start, we made another run to fill the fuel can. After that, he insisted that I go on with my day, saying that if it still didn’t start then, there wasn’t anything I could do to help. At that point, I was kinda glad.
Now I’d like to think that I’m a helpful kinda guy, but if I wasn’t a trucker myself, that guy might still be sitting on the side of the road. I can easily see someone who has a friend or a family member who is a trucker doing the same thing. I believe I forgot to mention that I had a carload of eight family members at the time. Not one of them complained. I apologized to them when the guy went in to pay for the second can of fuel, but they just said, “Hey, what if that was you guys? We’d hope someone would stop for you.” Once again, consideration because they knew a couple of truckers.
So that’s my goal. To have world peace through my blog and a few tweets. Okay, not realistic. Still, if shedding a little light on the trucking lifestyle makes a few more people drive a little safer and friendlier around trucks, then I’m not wasting my time. And if you still aren’t going to help me change lanes, then you better start scooching over! I’ve had my signal on waaaaaay too long. Freakin’ jerk.
*So what about you? How do you help truckers? Or do you? Leave a comment to show us all what a thoughtful and caring human being you are. And consider passing this on to a friend or two. I know you’ve got at least one that drives like an idiot around trucks. Or do you look at them every day in the mirror?*
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