Family: Wife, Jeanette; sons, Marty, 42, Jeff, 39, Russell, 37
Rig: 2000 Freightliner Classic XL
Career: 36 years
Safety: No chargeable accidents, 15 years without a moving violation
Leased to: Dart Transit
Freight: General freight
Net income: $39,000
Art Reid says his motto is the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you’d like them to do unto you.” It could just as well be “Blood is thicker than water” because family tops his list of what’s important.
“My kids and my wife are my No. 1 priority,” Reid says. “Then religion, then my job.”
You can hear the pride in his voice when he says that he and his wife, Jeanette, whom he met in 1960, haven’t said “a cross word to each other in 25 years,” or when he talks about his three sons, six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. Reid, 62, says one of his greatest fortunes was “picking a good wife and her picking me.”
“He is very professional,” says Roger Smith, Reid’s dispatcher at Dart Transit. “He looks at Dart customers as his customers.”
Reid built that dedication through a 36-year career. He got his start during an eight-year hitch in the military, driving supply trucks, road graders and jeeps. When he came home to Breckenridge, Texas, he was still interested in trucking, so he bought his first truck – a 1967 International cabover – through a lease-purchase and went to work for a mobile home company, Breck Homes.
Reid hauled for Breck for nearly 20 years, until the company went under in 1985. For the past 11 years Reid has been leased to Dart Transit. He drives a 2000 Freightliner Classic XL, hauling Whirlpool appliances.
The work for Breck Homes and Dart allowed Reid to stay in the state he loves: Texas. “I was born and raised here,” Reid says. “I like the wide-open spaces and the history, places like the Alamo.”
Smith says that Reid’s dedicated Texas route from Fort Wayne to El Paso allows him to be home on Sundays. While on the road, he enjoys XM and Sirius satellite radio, his television and his DVD player. He has a soft spot for country-western music and listens to The O’Reilly Factor every night. Reid likes listening to sports, especially live NFL games, on Sirius.
Ask Reid about his proudest accomplishments, and you’ll hear echoes of his three priorities: family, faith and career. He starts by listing his safety awards – he has never has an accident and has gone 15 years without a moving violation – but then stops. “I really enjoyed watching my sons play football and basketball,” he says. “But my best memory is of my oldest son becoming a preacher.”
With 36 years in trucking, Reid has learned a lot about what it takes to succeed. “When you’re just starting out, save some of your money,” he says. “If you don’t do that, I promise you’ll never make it. There will always be something that comes up, like new tires or something, and if you don’t have anything you’ll just have to borrow from the bank. And that’ll take interest, and you’ll lose more money.” Reid says he tries to save about 10 percent of his money. “My wife calls it my backup money,” he says.
Even as Reid nears the traditional retirement age, the veteran trucker is in no hurry to get out from behind the wheel. “I’m probably going to work till I’m 70,” he says. ” I’m going to slow down, but I’m still going to work some.”
FAVORITE STATE TO DRIVE IN: Texas. I like running west out of Fort Worth because there is not near as much traffic.
WORST STATE TO DRIVE IN: California. They are just so strict with the regulations.
MOST UNUSUAL LOAD: Hauling a mining bucket for 198 miles. It was 18 feet wide and weighed more than 150,000 pounds.
WORST THING ABOUT BEING A TRUCKER: Being away from home.
BEST THING ABOUT BEING A TRUCKER: I’m a friendly guy, but I like being out by myself.
UNUSUAL PLACES I HAVE HAULED: Hauling a 240-square-foot concrete building onto a California mountain from Denton, Texas.
BEST VACATION: Taking my wife, my nephew and my niece-in-law to Yellowstone National Park, Little Big Horn and other Western sites.
FAVORITE MOVIE: McLintock, with John Wayne. I like nearly everything John Wayne’s ever done.
FAVORITE FOOD: A dish my wife fixes with steamed broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, sausage and cheese.
LEAST FAVORITE FOOD: Salmon. I tell my wife I don’t mind eating it, but I don’t like it.
PET PEEVE: The way that some people drive. I don’t like to see anyone tailgate. I’ve seen people get 3 or 4 feet behind a four-wheeler in the hammer lane trying to get them to get out the way.
MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT: I pulled the back end of my britches out several times, and that is too embarrassing. You just have to hold your hand back there until you get a chance to fix them.
IF I HADN’T BEEN A TRUCKER: I would be a pilot.
DREAM JOB: If I had it to do all over again, I’d do the same thing: I’d drive a truck.