Lately there has been talk about how drivers are no longer considered the Knights of the Road. There are many reasons for that. The attitudes of some drivers, tighter schedules, and electronic logs, concern for liability, and load hi-jacking to name a few of the concerns. When we look at various social media outlets. We can see many drivers complaining about how things have changed. In their opinion for the worse.
On occasion we see a bright spot. A story about how a driver stops at the scene of an accident, and rushes to a burning vehicle to help those trapped inside. Other drivers may help at other minor accident, even if it is nothing more than a phone call to the authorities. Yet others still show the brotherhood of driving by getting out of their truck to help a driver back into a spot, or giving words of encouragement to those who are having a rough time.
The thing I have noticed is that many complain about the situation. However they are silent about what they are trying to do to fix it. Today I stopped at a small diner that I try to stop at at elast once a week. They are a small mom and pop one may almost call it a dive. Always a friendly word and lots of banter back and forth. The kind of place many of us when we reminisce mention they are on the decline. As a result I try to stop by to give them my support by ordering a meal.
Upon entering I noticed they seemed busier than normal the owner Kathy (not her real name) seemed more stressed than normal. The place was a bit chaotic and not clean as normal. The cook was slammed with orders, and the other waitress/dishwasher Sue (also not her real name) was missing. While talking to Kathy I learned they were low on eggs and she was waiting for some more. So I ran to my truck and grabbed a dozen from my fridge to help her out. Upon my return I learned that Sue had a mini-stroke. As a result they were understaffed and trying to make due.
Myself and another customer offered to help with the dishes to get them caught up. Kathy insisted they would manage. After a few more moments we realized she would never admit to needing help. When she turned her back we slipped into the dish washing area and took charge. In a matter of minutes dishes were being washed. his wife and oldest daughter were busing tables, drying dishes, and putting away the clean ones. Over the course of an hour we took the large stack of dishes, and got them caught up.
We did this not expecting a reward or compensation. We did it for a friend was in trouble in this case 2 friends Kathy and Sue. While eating my breakfast I had a conversation with another customer who was a former driver who retired from an injury. He as well as the cook asked my why I was helping. My answer was I am a professional driver, part of the brotherhood of being a driver is helping when we can.
It was at that moment I realized something critical. The brotherhood of driving, the Knights of the Road is still there. It may not be as visible in the past. It is in how we handle the situations we face. It may be feeding a person who is hungry, helping another driver back in, a kind word. Or stopping to help a friend who is having a bad day by washing dishes.
The next time you begin to complain how the brotherhood is no longer there. Ask yourself what have you done to help restart it? Truckers were once known for their generosity in helping those in need. It is time we stop complaining about how drivers today are not the same as those in the past. It is time we do something about it. Today’s experience has reminded me that we often take for granted those who help us keep America Moving. It has reminded me that with out the waitresses, mechanics, and all the other support people that we take for granted. Our jobs would be less pleasant, and far more difficult to do.
My challenge to you all is to do something nice for someone this week. When asked why the answer is simple I am a professional driver, and I help because it is what we do and who we are.