As we close the book on ’09, I leave you with two stories that will make you smile
December 24, 2009
December 24, 2009
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies