I’d like to talk about an unsung profession. I am married to a truck driver and I’d like to tell you a little about his normal day. I wake my husband everyday at 4:30 a.m. to go to work. He gets up, dresses, makes his coffee, packs a lunch, and is out the door usually by 4:45. My husband began his career in 1977 when he was 17 years old and joined the Army to be a truck driver. Over the years he has hauled just about everything and pulled just about every type of trailer. He has hauled military vehicles for the Army, steel on flat bed to build structures and cars, food and household goods in dry vans, railroad containers and refrigerated trailers to help the homemakers, and he now hauls cryogenic tankers with liquid oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, or argon so that our hospitals and factories can provide necessary services. In his own words he has driven more miles backwards than most of us have driven forward. He has been in every state and has made deliveries in some of the biggest cities and the tiniest of towns. He has seen all kinds of things in his travels. He is the Good Samaritan who has helped countless stranded motorists change a tire, get assistance after an accident or simply provide good directions to the lost traveler. In a normal day he will drive about 400 miles and be gone from home anywhere from 14 hours to an overnight stay somewhere. Despite the long hours and the industry frustrations, he loves what he does.
I’d like to share a few things I have learned in regards to what it is like for them out there.
- They are doing a necessary job. Without them we would not be able to go to our local store to get that loaf of bread or gallon of milk. Our vehicles’ tanks would remain empty and homes would not be built or repaired.
- The road is their office and the truck is their briefcase.
- Trucks are big. That’s way they are called “Big Rigs”. This may go without saying but it’s amazing how little space cars will give them and expect the truck to maneuver.
- Trucks cannot start or stop the way a car can. Try pulling an empty wagon and work your way around the house. Then put all your kids in it. Same concept. They need space. If something darts into the path of one of these things, it isn’t pretty.
- Truck drivers are not going to get rich doing what they do; most are paid by the mile or the load. They do it because they love it.
- They tend to be jacks-of-all trades. They are mechanics, delivery people, tour guides, bookkeepers (you should see the paperwork), and roadside missionaries.
- Truck drivers are watched and monitored very closely and have to keep track of everything they do. How many people working from their vehicles keep a log of the hours they drive and work and are scrutinized?
- A large majority of the drivers I have met are God loving family people just trying to make a living like everyone else.
I’m not saying that all truck drivers are these wonderfully sweet people. There are not so nice people in every profession. I’m just asking that the next time you are frustrated because you are behind a slow moving tractor trailer or you think that you’ve been cut off by a driver trying to turn a corner, try to have some compassion and say a prayer for his safe return home. He just may be the husband who has a family waiting for his return.