It’s hard to top a piece that starts with the opening line, “Once again, mankind has redeemed itself and we’ve met some of the coolest human beings alive.” Little did I know when I wrote it three years ago, mankind redeems itself on a regular basis on the road, and there really are some of the coolest people alive driving trucks for a living.
Fear not, I haven’t had an aneurysm and gone to la-la land just yet — I’m on the road with George enough to know this is a grueling, life-altering profession in every way, which is why the people who do it well and make it look good are worthy of note. We have been extraordinarily fortunate in meeting some of the finest people in the world out here, and there have been enough of them to cancel out the ones I wish would go crawl in a hole and never drive a truck again, at least in public. I consider that winning.
I’m thankful for truck drivers every day, but today, I’m especially thankful for the community of drivers who care enough to try and make a difference by doing something as simple as showing up clean, presentable and on time. I’m thankful for the true professionals I can point to when I stand on my little soapbox and yell at whatever mainstream news agency has taken their recent cheap shot — the people who make numbers like 1 percent fatality accident statistics possible with their commitment to safety and skill. You don’t get numbers like that with luck — you get it with trained professionals.
I may be self-admittedly close to la-la land in this particular statement, but I believe the positive-image drivers are growing in numbers, maybe not as quickly as the negative-image drivers, but I really believe there are a number of new drivers who really do want to be professionals, and I’m thankful for the seasoned drivers who take the time and effort to coach and impart information in a positive way. (FYI, screaming “Hit the hole, greenhorn!” on the CB does not count as imparting information in a positive way.) It only makes sense for any trained skill or job that the experienced help the inexperienced. It makes everyone’s job easier in the long run. And if the inexperienced act like jerks about accepting help, they’ve done us all a favor by letting us know they don’t belong here, and we should stay away from them in parking lots.
I’m thankful for the opportunity to do this job another year, and for George’s unending patience with me. It is truly a blessing to be able to travel with your best friend without strangling each other, although I’m certain there are times the necessity of him having two hands to drive with is the only thing that spares me from it. Conversely, my not knowing how to drive the truck prevents me from smothering him in his sleep, so we’ve learned to get along and enjoy the miles. Compromise is important on the road.
For those of you who don’t make it home for Thanksgiving, you will be thought of at our table this year, and you have our family’s sincere appreciation for doing a really hard job, as we give thanks for an abundance of things to be thankful for.