The way we were
A few weeks ago, I met one of my fellow driver friends at a truck stop in Florida. The driver decided he was hungry, so I fired up my grill and set it on the trailer. He got some steaks and we cooked supper. Well, around midnight a few other drivers wandered over. Then a few more came around, someone went to get more food, and before you know it we had about 40 drivers standing around telling lies, swapping stories and eating.
Someone broke out a guitar, somebody else started to sing, then another and another. You never saw such a good time.
Well, about 2 a.m., I noticed a driver standing at the back of the trailer by himself looking like he had just lost his best friend. I went over and began talking to him. It turned out that he had run out of money on his way home to turn in his truck before it was repo’d, and he didn’t even have the fuel to make it the rest of the way.
I convinced him to grab something to eat and join us. I told his story to the rest of the crowd, and we put an empty coffee can on the deck for anyone who would like to help. When things finally wound down, we discovered the coffee can was full of money and notes of encouragement. There was $2,600 in that damn can!
We gave it to the man, and he broke down and cried. He called his wife, waking her to tell her what had happened. You could hear her scream over the phone.
The man was a couple of $1,200 payments down. He now had enough to catch up on his payments, and I bought him a tank of fuel to get home on.
It wasn’t uncommon to see this kind of thing happen “back in the day.” Drivers would not hesitate to help each other. It’s nice to know that on occasion this kind of thing still happens.
Are you kidding me? $2,600 in a couple of hours donated from 40 truck drivers sitting around a campfire at a truck stop while singing Kumbaya? If my math is correct, that averages $65 a head, a pretty stiff cover charge. Either you inadvertently organized the best hootenanny since the 1960s, or those were incredible steaks.
Actually, I want to believe that despite what we hear in the press, on the CB, at the truck stops or on the road, there are still plenty of over-the-road professionals who will do whatever it takes and whatever they can afford to help a fellow trucker in need.
You’re right about the “back-in-the-day” attitude; there was a time when truckers helping truckers was the norm rather than the exception. Ironically, in these tough economic times, maybe we’re turned around and headed back to the “way we were.”
Murphy and Lucky Dog