Erb driver makes Mother’s Day memorable

OTTAWA, Ont. – Professional truck drivers may take for granted the view through the windshield from the seat of a big rig, but for an Ottawa woman, riding along in a semi was a lifelong dream.

That dream became a reality thanks to Erb Transport, and its Ottawa, Ont.-based driver Lyoness Woodstock, who hosted 86-year-old Shirley Barkell for a 75-kilometer journey on May 11. The trip was a surprise for Barkell, arranged by her daughter, and timed to coincide with Mother’s Day Weekend. Barkell said riding in a big rig was on her bucket list.

Shirley Barkell

“She was so excited about this, she was like a kid in a toy store,” Woodstock told “Erb was good enough to allow me to use the truck and the trailer and we did a Mother’s Day ride for her. They said ‘Absolutely, do this.’”

When Barkell arrived at Erb’s Ottawa terminal, she still didn’t know what was in the works. Lyoness gave her the full experience, even enlisting her help during the pre-trip inspection.

“I got her to do a complete walk-around with me,” he said. “She took the hammer to the tires; I wanted to give her that kind of experience.”

The route went from Nepean to Kanata and back to the southern part of Ottawa.

“She enjoyed every moment of it,” Woodstock said.

He admitted to being surprised by the level of enjoyment Barkell exhibited on the drive.

“I asked her, ‘Why would you want this on your bucket list?’ She has no connection to trucking in her family. She said it’s because she’s so short, every time a truck passes her, she thinks about how much she wanted to be up there with them,” Woodstock recalled. “It definitely puts a different spin on what trucking and truck drivers are all about. I’m tired of hearing all the bad stuff.”

Erb driver Lyoness Woodstock is pictured with Shirley Barkell, who got to check an item off her bucket list.

James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 18 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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  • Well done Lyoness! We do hundreds of trips and forget many of them. Shirley did one and will never forget it. A great days work to be proud of and an excellent company for their support and charity.

  • It was the most fun I have had trucking in a very long time. This Lady was so interested in all of it, I know if I had said ”want to drive?” she would have been in my seat in a heart beat LOL.
    It was a real joy to do something that not only put a smile on Shirley’s face, but something that puts a whole different face on trucking and drivers. A huge thanks to the Erb Group for partnering with me on this.

  • That is a wonderful story! Lyoness would be a gracious host. I hope she heard some of his great singing on the way.