It can be a dog-eat-dog world for anyone, but the canines seem more rampant and their fangs sharper when you’re trying to make it as an owner-operator. From the moment you consider a load to the receipt of the settlement, you’ve got to have your feelers out for people telling half-truths, begging for favors, pushing you on hours, charging you too much or paying you too little.
That’s one reason it’s refreshing to meet someone such as Bruce Bryant, the 2008 Overdrive Trucker of the Year. Bryant learned early in life how to work hard and look out for number one. Now he devotes more than his fair share of time and money to looking out for others who cross his path.
Those who know Bryant talk about his consistency, compassion and generosity, and not just to his friends and family, either, but to countless strangers he encounters. When a newcomer is learning the ropes at Landstar Inway, a down-and-out guy is looking for a meal at a truck stop, or a poor family needs a sponsor to send a child to church camp, Bryant’s there to help.
“God just gives it back,” he says. “Not that that’s a reason to give; you give because there are needs. But you can never outgive God.”
Bryant has to watch out for the same pitfalls as every other owner-operator. But he’s walking proof that if you operate soundly and have a mind-set of helping others more than fretting over your concerns, you can reach a high level of professional success and personal fulfillment.
In achieving that, Bryant has set a good example for all of us.