I ‘just tried to speak from my heart’
When Roadrunner Transportation Services contractor Glenn Keller, 51, decided to try out for CNN’s 2012 Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge, he was just one day away from the entries deadline but lacked a camera to make the required video entry. “I pulled off the interstate, went into a Walmart and bought what I figured would be my last bucket of chicken wings and a webcam. I sat there in the seat of my truck and just tried to speak from my heart.” Follow Keller’s progress on his goal to lose 100 pounds at cnn.com/fitnation. The program culminates in September at the 2012 Nautica Malibu Triathlon, where he’ll compete alongside CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta and six teammates.
Beating the odds by FOUR million miles
After driving farm tractors, Jimmy Ardis of Sumter, S.C., learned to drive professionally in a 1971 International cabover running to the West Coast.
His story might be emblematic of so many operators’ but for the fact Ardis lost his left arm to cancer at age 6.
At 19, he discovered the limitations of the federal waiver program for drivers missing limbs after “they caught me driving,” he says. He then graduated tops from a driving school and bought his first truck and trailer. “It was a Catch-22 situation,” he notes of his subsequent search for a lease. “To get a waiver you had to have a driving job, and to get a job you had to have a waiver.”
He wrote then-Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole. Her husband, Bob, Ardis knew, had one of his arms crippled in World War II. Dole’s staff arranged “to have a field tester to come to our house and test me and give me my waiver,” Ardis says.
Richard Beauchamp of Refrigerated Transport had also received a letter from Ardis and contact from Dole. Ardis visited the Atlanta fleet, where the Refrigerated drive tester told him, “You’re a natural born truck driver.”
He joined Refrigerated in 1982. Two years later, Ardis was the carrier’s top earning owner-operator. He’s now leased to Sapp Trucking. – Todd Dills
This 1994 Freightliner cabover was an extra in the opening scene of last summer’s blockbuster film “Real Steel.” The rig sold Dec. 8 in an auction hosted by Joyce Smith, co-owner of now-defunct Ron Smith Trucking of Breckenridge, Mich. Smith took five trailers and three tractors to Detroit, where the film about a boxer (Hugh Jackman) turned robot fight promoter was made. “The trucks are set up as an arena around some wrestling robots,” Smith says. The film was due out on DVD last month.
Atlanta-based hauler Danny Lower was rolling smoothly on I-75 when an unidentified falling object was thrown from an overpass and cracked his windshield, he told a WRCB reporter. Lower was able to maintain control, get off the roadway and call the authorities, but the culprit fled before anyone arrived.
See the Jan. 12 post to the Channel 19 blog for a link to a video interview with the driver and news of another overhead threat. Word is some jurisdictions are going out of their way – think Bear on overpass, taking pictures – to nab violators of the handheld cell ban. If you haven’t gotten yourself a hands-free headset, it might be time to.