Where has all the helpers gone?
When I started driving about 30 yrs ago, things were different. Yes, you always hear the old timers say it, “Trucking ain’t what it used to be!” But what does that mean?
Well for starters, we were afforded more flexibility in what we did and how we got it done. Why? Well, some would say the country was different.. no cell phones added its own unique set of challenges of communication. For those that never experienced the joy of standing in line to use the phone to call dispatch, only to be told.. “call back in 30 mins, I’m working on something”! It was a joy! (and I meant that sarcastically) How about that load board in the drivers lounge.. on a Monday morning and everyone standing around waiting for it to update and then a race to the pay phones to try to get the load.. Ah… those were the good ole days!
The highways were even different.. Speeds were slower, but with less people on the roads you actually got somewhere. Truck Stops were our home away from home and they catered to us! Gone are the days of reserved seating and priority service in the restaurant for truckers.. now were lucky if they even have one.. And lets not even talk about parking.. back then if you had a dirt lot you could straddle two mudholes to park level you were a happy driver! You didn’t have to worry about someone taking your hood off while you took your afternoon nap.. because training was different back then!
Training! Ah, the days of no “Truck Driving Schools”! Back when if you wanted to learn, you had to talk someone into taking you on the truck with them and teaching you the ropes! Keep in mind, back then, this was all usually done because to learn.. you usually worked for free and was the flunkie till you got enough experience to pull your own weight and bring value to the agreement. That usually meant you was the relief driver of a team setup. Keep in mind, there was no timeline for this training.. you trained till they figured you had it and you went your way.. If you didn’t get it.. they weren’t afraid to tell you so either. Crude… maybe.. but this ensured anyone who wanted to learn, if they were willing to put in the work, could learn. That was till the CDL came along and changed things. Now, anyone willing to commit to a company or pay a few thousand dollars for their own training, can get a CDL… (Usually in a month or less) (including my daughters… who quite frankly scare me in a car and have told them they have no business driving a truck!) Am I of the belief that anyone can drive a truck… yes, but there are a lot that shouldn’t!
Here I am again… off topic.. my apologies.. but I feel this change in our industry has changed our values in life.
More so now, people are more willing to take pictures of an accident on the side of the road, than stop to help.. We used to stop and help our fellow drivers on the side of the road broke down, hell at least call them on the CB radio and ask if they need anything! Now days, most drivers don’t carry tools let alone even own a CB radio. What happened? Anyone know? Who didn’t teach values and helping others? Did it happen at home, as a kid? Or is this lapse of values lay on the hands of the trainers?
In the hustle of our day to day, where did we lose humanity? Where did we lose our respect and compassion for others? Did it leave with the almighty dollar? Can an industry with values bred into us since the beginning of the industrial revolution actually be bought? Do you think we as a country would be where we are now, if people only worried about themselves for the last 2000 years? Drivers say the “Brotherhood” is dead… for some, yes it is.. I personally only know a handful of drivers that would go out of their way to help someone they don’t even know.. and do it for free!
When was the last time you was broke down on the side of the road.. all you needed was a hose clamp.. or a jug of water.. to get off the side of the road and to safety. Anyone stop? Probably not, your lucky if they even moved over and not try to run you over while your stuck on the side of the road!
Well, I guess I need to finish this, but my whole point is.. this didn’t get messed up overnight.. and it wont get fixed overnight. But the only way it will, is if we bring a little bit of the old days back. We all got cell phones now, and load boards are on our phones now and not in the “Travel Center/Truck Stops” anymore, but if we brought our values and commitments to the industry and humanity back… maybe the world could be a better place..
So in closing, be nice, smile and say hello, and help others… If we each take the initiative to change, maybe we can change the world!