Well it’s Friday again and time for another story…so let the story time begin.
Put yourself here…say your 24 years old, your a woman, you’re driving a truck up to a guard shack on a government installation and in the guard shack are two older gentlemen and they look at you like you’re from mars and you know they are thinking, how, why is there a woman doing a man’s job. Remember this is the early 80’s and there’s some women drivers but not tons.
So these guys are thinking, lets just see if this woman can do this right, let’s see if she can take her 80’ of truck and trailer and put it over there in a spot we just took a 40’ trailer from. Well what they guys didn’t know, I didn’t learn to drive truck on the open road, I hauled saw dust and peat for a couple of years and took them to farms and green houses that didn’t have room to turn a tractor around let alone a 80’ semi and if I can do it there I could do it anywhere.
So I did it, I took my truck pulled it out, backed up and put the trailer, blind side mind you (that means from the passenger side where blind spots are huge) just where they wanted it. Exactly in the spot they were positive I couldn’t. I got the paper work ready and headed into the guard shack and one of the guards was walking out and said…."I can’t tell you what I said when you first drove in here, but I apologize”, he shook my hand, gave me a quick hug and walked away. The other guard never did look me in the eye but said “I just couldn’t believe a woman could do that” and took care of the paperwork and sent me on my way. It happened often in my 8 years of driving but I have to tell you, it was an honor doing this job and it wasn’t a man or woman’s job, it was a job that needed doing and I wouldn’t for the life of me trade that experience for anything in the world.
I had one other experience to share. While delivering an empty tanker trailer I ended up in an ice storm. No where to pull off, no where to go but to my delivery so slow and go I went. It took me all night to go the last 50 miles or so but I made it, I got to the destination and was met by the boss guy and he just stood there with his mouth opened, shaking his head. He said he couldn’t believe I was standing there alive when he had gotten at least 10 calls that morning from his drivers either stuck, not moving or just not coming. He had a call while I was in the office and one of his drivers couldn’t make it in and he proceed to tell that driver that a lady driver was sitting here in his office, brought the trailer all night though the ice storm and every thing was perfect, how come he couldn’t at least drive his pick up to work.
This was the one load though I made a big decision in my truck driving career. There is never a load, never a trip, never a mile to go that is worth my life, our lives. There was so many things that could of gone wrong on that trip and it was by the grace of God that I made it. I really had a set of guardian angels that flew with me on the many miles.
So there you have it. The life of a woman truck driver. Now I was never really alone, I always had Jim with me. Well almost always, I did do the peat driving by myself. But anyway it was a life that really taught me a lot about people, places and gave us unbelievable adventures. Like trying to find Dowel Chemical company in the very deep south and stopping to get directions from a family sitting on their porch and they couldn’t understand us anymore then us Minnesotan trying to understand them, they thought we were trying to sell our dog. It was funny and we just looked at each other, shook hands and left.
You know something else, color, creed, race, people…it doesn’t matter. There are great people everywhere.
Now take care and have a most blessed weekend.