Whether the general public knows it or not, we all rely on the trucking industry and all of its workers to bring us everything we want and need. The industry requires many spinoff jobs to support pickups and deliveries of all sorts of freight.
Spinoff workers include persons responsible for packaging freight, warehouse persons, loaders and unloaders, shippers and receivers, dispatchers, back office personnel, and of course, diesel truck technicians, all truck drivers including from first mile pickup drivers to last mile delivery drivers, and all the way up to longhaul operators and others in between.
What They Give
Their sacrifices must not be taken lightly or forgotten. Every day they venture out no matter the weather or the temperature. Do they complain? Of course they do, we all do. But truck drivers never stop hauling freight for us all. They are committed to hauling freight and face strict deadlines, traffic congestion and other delays every day.
The trucking industry provides the fuel that drives economies of the world. Its people keep store shelves filled with our every need. But how often do people ever think about what truck drivers do for us?
One veteran long haul driver, now retired, told us what it was like for him. He said,
“I was a diesel truck repair technician working at a new truck dealership in Canada in the late 1970s. It was a satisfying job but I longed to experience driving the big rigs.
“As a tech I was required to hold a Commercial Driver Licence in order to test drive large trucks to be picked up and delivered and to road test them when repairs were completed. But my experience was limited to straight trucks and bobtail tractors. I had never pulled a trailer.
“One day a truck owner drove into my bay with a new cabover that was gleaming. It was hooked to a 40 foot reefer and was a really fine outfit. I told him I’d like to drive a truck like that. He replied that it was loaded for Jacksonville, Florida, his driver had just quit so the owner told me to get in it and go. Just like that.
“I was young and suffering over the breakup of my first marriage and wanted a change of scenery. It didn’t take long for me to make a decision. I told him I would leave that evening. He was delighted.
“I was nervous and excited because of my limited experience having never crossed the border or driven on an interstate highway, but I jumped in and took the reins. I worked a stretch of 52 days without a day off at home. But America was good to me and for me because it helped me come to terms with the loss of my wife and 2 kids.” In those days things were far different, but the sacrifices still remain.
It’s Never Just a Job
Truckers treasure their home time, but get precious little of it while working long shifts away from loved ones and familiar haunts.
If you’re thinking truck drivers “have it made” because they love the open road, you’re right but they also love getting home again for whatever little time is afforded them. What they do is dangerous. Yet those drivers routinely risk their lives daily for people they don’t even know. Never was that more important than when the planet was stricken by a raging, viral pandemic.
Truck drivers across the globe stepped up to keep stores stocked with everything we needed and they continue to do so. Despite being locked out of washroom facilities on the road they brought us everything from personal protective equipment to vaccines while wearing masks and social distancing. And let’s not forget sleeping in their trucks if they somehow managed to find parking while the rest of us were ordered to stay home amid ongoing lockdowns. Many of us survived on emergency payments from governments while many truck drivers were only paid by miles driven. Not driving, not paid. And some of those daring women and men never made it home, having lost their lives to the coronavirus.
Truck Driver Appreciation Week is an event that occurred recently to honor and thank North American professional drivers. This year’s celebrations were grander than ever, offering discounts and freebies to drivers on the road.
It’s a reminder to us all that these men and women who drive trucks deserve our thanks. Those of us at BrightOrder Inc. thank you professional drivers and applaud you year round. Thanks for everything you bring us. Stay safe.