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As we close the book on ’09, I leave you with two stories that will make you smile


It’s Christmas Eve and it’s pretty quiet here in the office. But before I head out to spend time with family, I wanted to leave you with two heart-warming stories that will hopefully provide some Christmas cheer at the end of an otherwise difficult year.
By now you may have heard of the sudden closure this week of Arrow Trucking in the States. The 1,400-truck fleet reportedly closed down unexpectedly, locking its doors, cancelling its fuel cards and instructing drivers to turn their trucks in to the nearest Freigthliner or Kenworth dealership.
As many as 1,000 drivers were stranded all across the US – many without money for food, fuel or a ride home. (Daimler Trucks was providing Greyhound bus tickets in exchange for their truck, but it was an imperfect solution for many of them, since they were flatdeckers and carried a lot of gear with them).
So far it doesn’t sound like a very nice story at all, but what happened next was extraordinary. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers’ Association (OOIDA) set to work and set up a Facebook site to help arrange rides home for stranded Arrow drivers. The site exploded that evening and within hours hundreds of professional drivers were posting their location, the direction they were headed and their contact numbers.
Drivers were offering rides, hot meals, showers – even a place to stay and in some cases money for food or shelter. The offers continued pouring in and still do today, although it’s hoped most Arrow drivers have found their way home in time for Christmas. You can check out the Facebook page here, it’s bound to put a smile on your face.
Some major carriers such as Swift and Schneider also got in on the act, instructing their drivers to help out any stranded Arrow driver they come across. (Smart PR move, by the way. These drivers will forever remember who gave them a ride when they were in need and who do you think they’ll want to drive for in the future)?
Job offers were also posted as well, which should give many of the displaced Arrow drivers some comfort, knowing they may not be out of work for long. It was really nice to see our American truck driving friends rally to look after one another and I’m confident the same would have occurred here had the need arisen – thankfully it has not!
The other trucking-related story that caught my attention this morning came from Moose Jaw, Sask., where several professional drivers arrived at the yard for work to find a litter of six puppies abandoned in a crate and left outside in -18 C weather.
The truck drivers took the puppies to the Humane Society, but there was no room at the inn (to borrow an analogy from the original writer). So the drivers returned to the yard and ensured they found a good home for each of the pups. Whoever coldly abandoned the puppies must have known that truckers are good people and would ensure they were taken care of.
In both instances, professional drivers provided a refreshing reminder that getting the load to its destination on time is not always the most important priority. Helping our fellow man (and man’s best friend) in their time of need still trumps any delivery of freight.
On that note, I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, enjoyable holiday and Happy New Year. It’s been a tough year for nearly everyone connected to this industry, but let’s all hope for a more prosperous 2010!


James Menzies

James Menzies

James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at james@newcom.ca or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.
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8 Comments » for As we close the book on ’09, I leave you with two stories that will make you smile
  1. David Robson says:

    Stories like this make me proud of the people in our industry. Yes we are out for the money, but we do not overlook the compassion to assist people in need of assistance. I would like to congratulate those companies and drivers that reacted so quickly to help our fellow drivers in a dangerous situation. I hope everyone made it home for Christmas.

  2. Robert D. Scheper says:

    HERE HERE!

  3. S. Webers says:

    It sure makes me proud to be numbered in the trucking in industry

  4. Kevin Snobel says:

    What I am proud of is this industry and how it continually helps, and an all There is nothning wrong with patting ourselves as an industry on the back once in a while. We are kicked enough by the “AUTHORITIES” at the wrong time, and yet stories like these do not make the front pages. WE DO IT BECAUSE WE WANT TO> NOT FOR THE PUBLICITY.
    Happy New Year to all and BE PROUD Remember if it is in the house 99% chances are it came by truck

  5. James,
    Great stories always but especially true this time of year. Thanks for telling/publicizing them. It made my day.
    Please be on the lookout all year for stories like this and when you beleieve it’s appropriate, please publish. Thanks for your service.
    Regards,
    Gary

  6. Thanks for the comment, Gary. For more good news stories, you may want to sign up for my new newsletter Hooked Up. You can sign up at: http://secure.campaigner.com/Campaigner/Public/Form10.aspx?fid=286480
    (You may have to copy and paste that into your browser).
    There’s a Community section and the goal is to publicize a good news story on how the industry gives back in every edition. Is it possible? Time will tell, but so far I’ve had no trouble finding stories for that section.
    For anyone that missed the first two issues of Hooked Up and would like to receive them, drop me a line at jmenzies@trucknews.com and I’ll send them to you. Also, if you’ve heard of a nice community-related story involving a company or individual in the trucking industry, I’d love to hear about it.
    So often our industry is portrated in a negative light, I’d like to bring more attention to its generosity going forward.
    Happy New Year!
    James

  7. cna training says:

    Keep posting stuff like this i really like it.

  8. Here is another one I came across:
    Trucking firm makes special Christmas Eve delivery
    CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — An East Coast trucking company made a special delivery over the holidays, delivering a teenaged ballet student from Ontario to her family in P.E.I.
    According to a story by the CBC (http://www.cbc.ca/canada/prince-edward-island/story/2009/12/31/pei-girl-truck-christmas-trip-584.html), 14-year-old Tabita van der Geer was attending the Quinte Ballet School of Canada in Belleville, Ont. where it looked like she’d have to spend Christmas. Given the high cost of tuition, van der Geer’s family was unale to afford a ticket home, according to the CBC story.
    That’s when her father decided to call on the trucking industry for help. He called his former employer, Seafood Express to see if they had a truck headed home from Ontario.
    Driver Doris Potthast just happened to be headed east and swung by Belleville to pick up the ballet dancer and, despite some bad weather en-route, was able to deliver her home on Christmas Eve.
    “I was always afraid that we couldn’t make it and had to stop and, yeah, probably celebrate Christmas Eve on the road,” Potthast told the CBC. “But we finally made it.”
    The teenager is planning on seeking a ride back to ballet school via truck in the new year.

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