Good things happen, too: Saluting truck-stop staff

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I don’t want everyone to think we just roll around out here having bad experiences. I try to write about the positive as much as the negative, and after our experience with Miss Personality in West Monroe, La., I feel like it’s important to point out some of the high points in our trip.

Customer service is an art that a lot of big corporations overlook. They’re too huge to take time to train the lowest echelon of employees, the ones the public actually interacts with and sees. Much like the FMCSA, a lot of large corporations go about things ass backwards, and provide tons of training meetings and seminars for corporate management, while forgetting about their $7.50/hour everyday worker. The corporate bubble keeps them from seeing that a little training and education from the beginning makes a ton more sense than constant turnover in the workforce.

Dawnmarie Akers is just one of the smiling faces ready to assist you at the Brooklyn, Iowa, Pilot. “I love my job. I love meeting new people. Seeing old friends. Some of them may not be nice. But I try.”Dawnmarie Akers is just one of the smiling faces ready to assist you at the Brooklyn, Iowa, Pilot. “I love my job. I love meeting new people. Seeing old friends. Some of them may not be nice. But I try.”

Twice during this last trip out, I have been extraordinarily impressed with customer service we received. I’ve already mentioned Jason Storey at the Colby, Kan., Pilot. He’s the guy who works 18-hour shifts as a general manager, so we can have a clean and well-stocked home away from home. Jason has been with the company for more than 8 years, and his staff thinks as much of him as we did. That seems to be the key with managers, the ones who have a staff who appreciate them have a much better team than those who have staff that are afraid of them.

Dominick Lionetti, manager of the Flying J in St. George, S.C., is another example of a guy who goes the extra mile to make sure we’re clean and comfortable away from home. We had a problem with our shower credits while visiting his store. Somehow we were accidentally charged $12 worth of fuel points for a shower, instead of being given a co-driver shower with our free one. It was Memorial Day weekend, and what should have been a simple phone call to corporate was not, because no one was there to help us. Corporate was enjoying a day off while Dominick handled their business and took time to make sure we were happy and had the things we needed. He spent about half an hour in an incredibly busy store to make our fuel points right and even gave us a free shower credit for the trouble and time it took him to do so. That’s customer service, and I hope Pilot Flying J realizes what they have in the manager of their St. George, S.C., store.

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I do a lot of bitching, I complain a lot about things on the road, but I also try to point out the good when I see it. Not all the letters I write are ugly — I sincerely try to write as many good ones as I do bad. There are some extremely hardworking people out there in the truck stops, and they don’t get the recognition they should. So here’s to all the shower cleaners, clerks and stock personnel working in a truck stop today (and every day, including holidays) – thank you. We appreciate you and really do notice the job you’re doing.

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