Feeling the love with a new carrier, in a warm place

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We’ve escaped the polar vortex and entered the balmy ides of Florida in February.

Since Mother Nature has decided to hate on the Midwest, Southeast, Northeast and pretty much everything in between and on the edges, we scrambled for the nine square miles of sunshine left in the United States and brought a load to Orlando. This also allowed George to take his securement classes Landstar require for step deck.

Left to right: Steve Bailey sees to it that Gerald Paquette and George Parker secure things properly.Left to right: Steve Bailey sees to it that Gerald Paquette and George Parker secure things properly.

So here’s something new and improved already – a company concerned about safety education. Not only that, they put us up in a hotel for two days so he could take the class and we could be comfortable. I’m beginning to feel like we’ve been doing this the wrong way. In fact, I know we’ve been doing this the wrong way.

We’ve met some of the nicest and most helpful people down here. Everyone is concerned that we have what we need and are hooked up with the right wires and connections to the Matrix that is the Landstar community.

This isn’t a commercial for the company, even though it sounds like one. I’m just so amazed at the difference in the way we’re treated, and keep waiting for them to ask for the blood of a virgin in return. I’m sure there are other companies who treat their drivers with respect, but the last one we were at definitely did not. This company must remain unnamed, because the minute they found out George’s wife worked for a national trucking magazine as a writer, the lawyers called and told us we were not allowed to mention them – ever. What they failed to realize is that we no more wanted to be associated with them than we did a booger on the sidewalk. So they remain unnamed, and we have moved to greener pastures.

I fail to understand why a company wouldn’t realize their employees are more apt to put forth effort and go the extra mile to get a load delivered on time when they’re treated like a human being, instead of a truck number. I had a long conversation with a seasoned driver who started at the same unnamed company we did and he explained it perfectly. The companies who simply fill a seat with a warm butt aren’t in the trucking business. They’re in a money exchange program that just happens to have trucks and drivers involved. The human element has been replaced with dollar signs, and enough money is generated to pay for the safety violations without busting into their profit too much, so no one really cares much about training and safety. They need people to hold steering wheels and try not to kill families on the highway — they don’t give two craps about pride or customer service, or anything else but the almighty dollar.

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In the end, it’s really up to each individual as to how they choose to conduct themselves on the road. It’s extremely evident when someone has pride in what they do, no matter if they’re a trucker or a window washer, or a teacher. People who really want to do a job right will seek the training necessary to do it. It would be awesome if the trucking puppy mills would step up and offer a little more than the absolute minimum, but they’re not going to because it costs money and they’re not going to spend any more money than they are forced to by the government.

I think the FMCSA is way off in their efforts to make the public safer. They seem to be starting at the wrong end, much like we did when George became an owner-operator. If they really are concerned about it, they’ll go after the companies with churn like a Wisconsin butter factory, and leave the experienced drivers and small companies with longtime employees alone.

And then monkeys will fly.