For love of the long haul
Boyd Bros. Transportation driver committed to trucking life
By Deirdra Drinkard
Arnaldo Ponce-Antonetty, 51, of Phenix City, Ala., loves driving for Boyd Bros. Transportation. How Ponce-Antonetty moved to the continental United States from Puerto Rico after joining the U.S. Army in 1978. After serving for 14 years, he decided he wanted to do something different with his life. Ponce-Antonetty went on to graduate from driving school and asked to be hired with Boyd Bros., based in Clayton, Ala., in 1992.
“I promised them if they hired me that I would give them the best five years from a driver,” Ponce-Antonetty says. “And I’m still here.”
Boyd. Bros. hired Ponce-Antonetty as a flatbedder, hauling general commodities. He started driving a Peterbilt and now, six trucks later, is driving a 2009 International. Ponce-Antonetty says the company is good about keeping drivers in new trucks.
“It’s not an easy job, but when you have a company that supports you 24/7, it makes a difference,” Ponce-Antonetty says.
During his time with the company, Ponce-Antonetty has been recognized for achieving one million and two million accident-free miles. Ponce-Antonetty says two-thirds of those miles were logged under the same dispatcher, Kevin Spivey. After working 10 years with Ponce-Antonetty, Spivey says, “Ponce-Antonetty is dependable, easygoing and communicates well. He’s a good guy to work with. He does everything you ask him to.”
Ponce-Antonetty strives not only to be a good driver but a good husband. His career and his marriage began around the same time, and both are still going strong. Ponce-Antonetty met his wife, Sherrin, at Fort Benning, Ga., while he was still in the Army. “When I walked into an office and saw the woman behind the counter, I said, ‘Lord, have mercy,’ in my mind,” he says. “I thought that if she was single, she was going to be my wife. When she saw me, she told me she had the same feeling.”
Two days after their first meeting, Ponce-Antonetty visited his parents in Puerto Rico for 30 days, during which time he and Sherrin called each other at least once a day as they began to get to know each other. They married soon after and did not let the miles of Ponce-Antonetty’s new job separate them as Sherrin often joined him on the road.
“Up to this day, she is my best blessing,” Ponce-Antonetty says. “She is so good to my kids. … She’s the center of my attention. She’s like my light, my beacon.”
Ponce-Antonetty always looks forward to his trips home to see his wife. “That’s one gift God gave us, a wife,” Ponce-Antonetty says. “Women rule, I don’t care what the guys say.”
Ponce-Antonetty says he is especially thankful that his wife has the skill to cook, because he loves to eat. While other people watch what they eat, Ponce-Antonetty says he focuses on burning the calories he’s eaten.
“A person can eat what they want, but then you have to burn those calories,” Ponce-Antonetty says. He does that by walking or jogging at rest areas, and he also keeps a set of weights in his truck to work out his upper body.
Keeping his body healthy hopefully will ensure Ponce-Antonetty a long career and marriage. Ponce-Antonetty jokes with his wife that he will be one of those drivers with a walking cane, as he hopes to stay with Boyd Bros. for years to come.
“We need to realize we’re here for a very short time, and we need to be thankful and do the best we can each day,” Ponce-Antonetty says.
Q & A
Q: What is your favorite city?
A: I really like Washington, D.C., because of the historic sites, and of course because it’s the political center of the nation.
Q: What is your favorite meal?
A: I love the roast beef dinner at Cracker Barrel.
Q: My advice to other truckers is …
A: I believe something that a truck driver should have is patience, knowledge and consideration for others.
Q: What is one thing you always take with you?
A: The Lord’s Prayer on a five-by-nine piece of wood. That’s what gives me my strength. You always have to have faith.