Be A Storyteller
I enjoyed John Latta’s column “Totch Brown” in the January 2003 issue.
I started in the trucking business about six years ago, only behind a fuel desk. I don’t mean to, but I suppose I’ve gotten to be a storyteller myself to some of the regular customers. I can recall one night someone coming in that I started telling something to. Soon someone else came in.
“Come here, you’ve got to hear this,” I said. Before it was all over, I had quite a captive audience gathered around, including one man I didn’t recognize, laughing along with the others.
“Man, you’ve got the best job in the world,” he said. “Where do I apply?”
Sadly, I had to give it up and cross over the desk and learn to drive when my new wife told me it was time to think of the future.
One night, while laying over in Cheyenne, Wyo., I called an old friend from high school who came down to see me. So we sat and caught up on the last 30 years. I couldn’t help but notice I was doing most of the talking.
“You’ve had an interesting life,” my friend said.
I would never have thought I would hear that from someone who’s been a police officer for 24 years as well as serving in Desert Storm with his reserve unit.
If I could suggest taking John’s article two steps further.
1.Write your stories down. I’m proud to say that I’ve kept a journal, writing on a regular basis for the last 22 years.
2.Share your stories with a Trucker Buddy class.
My teacher says my letters are always so full of lesson ideas that she can’t keep up.
And it saddens me to see so much time wasted on video games when there is a waiting list of classes wanting Trucker Buddies.
Daniel M. Green
Too Easy to Blame Us
I am a long-haul truck driver. In June 2002 I was in South Dakota on I-90 and received a ticket for an unsafe lane change. I was unable to fight the ticket because my company was unable, according to them, to get me by the court that I was to appear in. I do not feel that this is a fair deal, and many truckers have the same problem. Companies want drivers with clean records and good attitudes, however, they often do not assist drivers when the driver gets a citation that is wrongfully issued.
I was issued this citation because a car was not allowing me to change lanes and when she did, she sped up and got too close to the trailer tires. Then she braked suddenly, causing her to lose control of her vehicle. She was lucky. She did not get injured and did not do serious damage to her vehicle. The trooper who responded said he was off duty, did not take my statement and sent the other driver back to the nearest large town to get damage estimates. He informed me that since he investigated the incident, he would have to issue a citation. Since he had already sent her back, he issued me a citation for unsafe lane change.
I’ve checked with numerous officers and was told that the trooper did not “have to” issue a citation. I wanted to fight the citation, as it will put a mark on my otherwise clean driving record. Unfortunately, I will not be able to as I did not get there to appear in court. I did write a letter to the court with the payment, not that it would be read. I just felt I had a right to explain what happened.
Why is it always the truck driver that gets the blame in a car/truck incident? Had she not sped up when she shouldn’t have, there would have been no problems, and we both would have gone on our way. When will car drivers realize that big trucks do not have the stopping and turning power of cars? Once a decision has been made to change lanes or make turns, truck drivers cannot immediately change their minds like a driver of a car can. I am now even more careful when changing lanes.
Get to Know Us
I really don’t think truck drivers get enough recognition for what we do every day. I read Truckers News every time it comes out. I believe what is put inside of the paper is good output for us. But I wish more of the outside world could read more about us so they could realize how much we do for them. So much revolves around trucks. If more of our news events were in local newspapers, then they might understand more.