Nacogdoches, Texas-based Schneider National driver Robin Reese recently told me a story that ranks among the absolute most positive I’ve heard to come out of the bankruptcy of Arrow Trucking, which before officially filing as bankrupt late last week abruptly ceased operations a few days before Christmas, leaving drivers the nation over in the lurch and wondering just how to proceed. Shortly after news of the shutdown began to fly out of Tulsa, where Arrow was based, and the company’s drivers’ cabs, Reese received a message over her Qualcomm unit from Schneider headquarters to be on the lookout for stranded Arrow haulers, giving permission to her and all their drivers to offer rides home.
But it was more than a week before she got the opportunity. In the wee hours of New Year’s Eve, she overheard a conversation at a truckstop counter in Maybrook, N.Y., though, and recognized an Arrow hauler in a 28-year-old man looking to get home to his wife and child in Green Bay, Wis., also home to Schneider headquarters. “He’d been in Boston when he got dumped out,” says Reese, and had made it to the truckstop counter layover care of a hauler of used oil filters who said he could take him as far as Ohio. But when the Arrow driver, who wished to remain nameless pending litigation against his employer, heard Reese’s eventual offer to take him the entire way, he hopped aboard.
The story, says Reese, “has a happy ending in more ways than one,” she says. First, she was headed into New York City for a scheduled delivery that morning. “I had to do some backing and jacking,” she adds, to get into the customer’s location, and the Arrow driver was invaluable in helping her do so: “Lucky for me he was on the truck; if it hadn’t been for him, I wouldn’t have gotten out of New York.”
Secondly, on their way to Schneider’s Gary, Ind., terminal, where Reese and the Arrow driver stopped for showers and rest, the driver was finally able to talk to the manager of the Boston dealer where he’d dropped his truck. The manager had been out for the Christmas holiday then, and none of the dealer employees knew anything about the assistance so many dealers were prepared to offer to Arrow drivers to get home, so the driver set off toward home on his own. “He had about $8 [and a small bag of clothes] on him when I picked him up,” says Reese.
On their way home, though, that dealer told the driver they’d been looking for him and had lined up a U-Haul for him to drive back to Green Bay. Hearing he’d already found transport for himself, the dealer arranged to ship the many items he left in his truck back home.
“We try to help each other but sometimes we just get too busy with our own lives,” Reese says. “Helping him out was really great for me. I told him, it was a bad ending of the year, but ‘it looks like you’re going to have a good New Year.’”