Congratulations Marty Gardner! Marty is this year’s recipient of the Owner/Operator of the Year Award.
Presented during this year’s edition of the Fergus Truck Show, we facilitate this award annually on behalf of Freightliner Canada, Markel Insurance and Goodyear Canada.
It has been our custom for the past 15 years to take the winner out for a nice dinner after the ceremony. This year was no different. After the formal proceedings, 14 of us made our way to a small Japanese restaurant located adjacent to our hotel. Two of our staff had recommended the food and with our only other option being chicken wings and nachos at the local Country and Western bar (nobody wanted the responsibility of driving, so it had to be nearby) we decided it would be a wiser and healthier choice.
Don’t get me wrong, chicken wings and nachos were my staple for many years but the majority ruled on this one.
Part of this dinner gang included two high-ranking executives from FedEx (Marty’s carrier).
The vice-president had made the trip from its US headquarters located in Pennsylvania (a nice show of support) and the Canadian line-haul manager was in attendance as well.
We entered the tiny restaurant and were ushered into one of two small dining areas. How small were they? I think the table in our room was supposed to hold a maximum of 10. At 14, it made for a “cozy” experience giving us the opportunity to really get to know each other.
Cozy quickly became crowded as the temperature hovered around 90 degrees. It seems we had picked the only restaurant in southern Ontario that didn’t have A/C.
With third-degree burns to my melon from way too many UV rays during the day, I felt like I was in a Japanese steam bath. I’m sure my pulsating red and purple head gave off more light than the pot lights.
In order to sit at this table we had to take off our shoes (nice…especially after a long hot day in a dusty fairground) and crawl around on our hands and knees to get to our seats.
It certainly was unique. So was running out of beer…and glasses…and knives. It seemed that every time there was an order, the poor waitress had to report back that they didn’t have it.
In the end, it really didn’t matter. It turned out to be a great night. The food really was good and the company even better.
Winners of this award never cease to amaze me. They are the type of people we should all aspire to be and this year’s recipient was no exception! n
– Rob Wilkins is the publisher of Truck News and he can be reached at 416-510-5123.