Paying it forward on the road

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I hear every day how “trucking ain’t what it used to be, no one helps or cares anymore.” And while I’m sure things have changed over the years, the fact that there are still good people on the road remains. I know, I’ve seen it and experienced it firsthand.

Two great trucking stories from last week. Neither will ever make the news, because neither involves a fiery crash, hours of service, openly defying supreme court orders, or Kim Kardashian’s giant butt. Nope. The only way these stories make the rounds is for you and I to tell them, so here goes.

We get requests for driver assistance through the Facebook page quite often. Most of the time, it’s a situation in which the driver is stranded and can’t get home, for whatever reason. Early on, I posted these requests and did what I could to help folks out, until I realized I could devote an entire page to that alone, and a lot of people are stranded because of their own poor choices. We also got burned more than once by unsavory characters who didn’t hesitate to take advantage of kindness. That being said, I changed my strategy, and stopped publicly posting requests for assistance.

I developed a network of people who have charities and organizations, and I pass the bulk of requests for assistance we get on to the people who have a much larger reach than we do. I basically let the professionals handle it, and it’s worked well so far. (Big shout out to the JBC – usually my first “go to” when it comes to getting someone help.)

From the annual JBC “drag race,” held annual at MATS,From the annual JBC “drag race,” held annual at MATS,

Last week, we got a message about a young man who had refused to drive when he was out of hours, and was immediately fired and told to leave the truck. He was stranded in Virginia, and needed to get to Pittsburgh. I contacted JBC, and set the wheels in motion.

While I was waiting to hear back from JBC, I just happened to catch the daily video log from Jerry Blevins.

Jerry “The Continental Cowboy” Blevins has a dog named Calvin, and I’ve written about them before. He also has a Facebook page he does a daily video log for, and I watch his piece, every day. Jerry doesn’t have a ton of followers, and that suits him just fine. He is diligent about his video logs, even if they’re not being watched by thousands, and I feel like supporting him is the least I can do, because he keeps at it, every single day, without fail. He epitomizes trucking to me – rarely appreciated, but always there to do the job.

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Lo and behold, according to the video log, Jerry was scheduled to go right through the town the young man was stranded in, and set to final out in Harrisburg, which is a short bus ride from Pittsburgh. I messaged him and in a matter of minutes, we had a solid ride for the guy — lickety split, just like that. The stranded driver was home the next day, Jerry and Calvin made a new friend and we all got to participate in a warm-fuzzy. It was nice, and it reiterated to me that there are a whole lot of good people on the road, whether or not they’re being portrayed that way.

Second story of the week also came to us from the Facebook page – had a driver’s girlfriend send a message for us to post, thanking an anonymous driver for returning her boyfriend’s wallet. She said he thought he lost it at the truck stop, had no hopes of ever finding it. Turns out, he lost it at the shipper, on a dock, and another trucker found it. Not only did the finder leave everything intact, he took the time to package it up and mail it to the address on the driver’s license inside the wallet. The sender didn’t include his name, but he did write a note cautioning the wallet owner to keep up with his personal belongings, because not everyone is honest enough to return a wallet full of fuel cards and banking information.

I’d like to extend a personal and heartfelt thanks to those who are out here doing it right. It doesn’t cost a thing to be a decent human being, and the rewards are more valuable than money will ever be.

You go, truckers!!