Building a solid team

by Robbie Wilkins

When most people fly to Florida, they head out equipped with bathing suits, golf clubs and enough cash to get them through seven days of happy hours.

Last week, I walked out of the Sarasota airport with my carry-on containing two T-shirts, two pairs of socks and yes, a change of underwear. I wasn’t there for a holiday, the purpose of this trip was to get immediately into my parent’s car and drive them home to Canada.

They live in a gated community during the winter months, driving their modified golf cart – complete with headlights – to the course and home on a daily basis. Since they are both approaching 80, I thought I’d be the good son and lend a hand with the driving on their return trip to the Great White North.

With my dad behind the wheel, my mom squeezed in the back while I rode shotgun, we headed towards the Interstate. With the exception of the traffic jam north of Tampa and the resulting hour delay, the first day’s drive was uneventful.

The next day, again with my dad behind the wheel we headed out just after dawn. With no traffic, clear sky and a full tank of gas, we were going to put some big miles behind us. Two hours and twenty-two minutes later, my dad veered right, down a ramp, parking the car under the welcoming golden arches.

“Your mother and I want a coffee,” was all he said.

Wow, I swear I didn’t hear a word about coffee in the car, but they have lived together for close to 60 years so maybe there’s some sort of telepathy thing going on.

After a short pit stop, off we went. One hour and twelve minutes later, my mom reminds my dad that she has to stop for pecan nuts to give to their neighbor back home.

Veer right … down the ramp … park the car. We’re in front of what’s supposed to be a plantation home. In they go, a short time later they emerge with enough nuts to fill half the Dome.

With the same seating arrangements, off we went.

I was starting to get the feeling this trip would take the better part of a week.

After lunch that day, my dad looked at me, put his hand in his pocket and handed me the car keys. It was like I was 16 again! I was in control!

I’m sure he had planned all along to surrender the keys.

After all, that was the point of me making the trip.

Problem was, I had my vision of what “putting big miles behind us” meant and he had his.

If we had established common goals before the trip I would have known what to expect.

Food for thought if you’ve just started getting into team driving.

Rob Wilkins is the publisher of Truck News and he can be reached at 416-442-2097.


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