The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
The Backbone Of A Country Is What Keeps A Country Standing
Truck Driver Appreciation Day: First Sunday In September
Dear Truck Driver,
I only have an idea of what you do, but you do so much more than I will ever know. To let you know how I know, anyone that drives on a major highway has probably seen you at work. You probably aren’t on the road for your health, or well, you are, because of your wellbeing, but nonetheless, if you had it your way, you would probably be at home relaxing in the comfort of your own bed.
Those moments seem far and few in between and it is like a dream just to be home. You are on the road to make some money so you can afford to live and feed your family. You make sure things get to where they need to be. You are known as a truck driver, a delivery driver, a hauler, a commodities relocation specialist, a mover, a tractor trailer operator, professional freight operator, and you could go many other names. No one really says thank you because your job is thankless, however, they need you more than ever in order to continue living the lifestyle they do.
As I see you driving, late at night and into the early morning, and all throughout the day, and evening, I appreciate all of your hard work and all of your efforts. You drive across the country, carrying loads of materials that are in your possession and that you are completely responsible for, thousands of dollars and sometimes even millions of dollars worth of materials. There is no technology that is ever going to take your place, even though a self-driving truck would be awesome. Until then, you remain the backbone of the country, driving from New York to California and all the way down to the border of Texas, and right back up again, through Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota, driving all the way from Maine, to Washington state.
You are truly the workers who keep this country going. Imagine if every single one of you decided to strike for something, or just take the day off, only then, would everyone realize just how important you actually are, and how you are the ones who could effect the economy, for the better or for worse. It is you, truck drivers, whom I see every time I take a trip.
Driving may seem like it is easy, but driving with hundreds to thousands of pounds on your cab is overwhelming and can be tedious. Getting over a mountain or a hill, you do it flawlessly, and take your time, with patience and some ease, and with the utmost safety in mind, and you make it look easy. Yet, it is probably nerve-wracking, as something could go wrong, and the last thing you want to see or experience is devastation. All you probably want to do is make your pay and get home to your family.
No, I am not a truck driver myself, but I do take enough trips around the country, often driving, to know just what you do. You are my neighbor during a midnight drive from one state to another. You respectfully try as you might, not only to abide by the “secret trucker code” that you all seem to have, which means you really all just understand each other, and what your jobs are like; you do what you have to do, and while you are not doing anything labor-intensive, the stress and toll it can take on your mind, is taxing. You generous truck drivers often pull to the right and stay over there, not simply because it is a law, but because you want to give respect to others on the road, often keeping any flow going.
I pretend like you are talking to me and we have become good friends of the road, that is, until I turn off or you do. In the meantime, I like to think of myself as a friend to all the truck drivers. I tend to give truck drivers their space, while they constantly remind me to keep the speed limit, and sometimes allow me to bypass. When I can go on no longer and sleep at rest areas, seeing truck drivers gives me a sense of comfort, because it lets me know the world is still functioning. There is no zombie apocalypse, the economy has not crashed, and you are still doing one of the most important and underrated jobs in the world.
Truck drivers, you keep me company on my long, sometimes 15 hour drives, and while I have hardly ever been with any single one of you for the entire time, it is you who help me to deal with that loneliness that I know you have to deal with every single day. On the road, I am just trying to get to my destination, and I know you are too— and so we rarely talk or say “hi” — I tend to keep to myself on the road, but secretly, I am wishing you well and hoping that you arrive safely not just at your destination for work, but at your destination for home.
Of all people, you understand life’s philosophy the most, because it is the road. They say, “Enjoy the journey and don’t worry too much about destination”, and that is fine and well in life, but when you are driving with 5 tons of materials that need to be delivered by a certain time, your destination is quite important, and so is the one where you return home safely with your family. Yes, it is your choice to have that job, it is your choice to continue this lifestyle, but most of you do it because “it’s good money” and its the best way you can support your family.
You are the truck driver, who often spends well over 8 hours a day on the road, sometimes being called away for two or three weeks at a time, delivering this and that to wherever and whenever. You are away from your family for long periods of time. You have learned to deal with solitude and have somehow managed to become your own best friend, because really, what are you doing in your mind while you are driving, often alone?
For myself, there is some comfort in the solace of silence, and its great for a time, but doing it as a daily job makes your job seem far more stressful than other jobs, where at least, people are communicating with other people. The only time that really happens for you is if you are picking up or dropping off your loads, taking a break at a rest stop and meeting others, or calling home to your family and friends.
It is you, truck drivers, who deserve much more respect than most people will ever give you. Thank you for keeping the world going. It is a thankless job and you do it without complaint. You are in every country doing a job that might seem like it is filled with anyone who could work that job, but like nurses or like teachers, it takes a unique individual with the strength of mind to do what you do. Thank you truck drivers.