I have a friend named Roger who is also a truck driver. We actually met in 2013 while on the bus heading to truck driving school in Salt Lake City.
He’s a few years older than I am, and has lived a very different life before truck driving than I have. But we became fast fiends throughout our careers. In fact we’ve been co-workers at three separate companies. We’ve gotten together and hung out in several different states and have had multiple conversations that have lasted for hours. Topics included everything under the sun: from matters of spirituality and religion to politics and the current news cycle, to even details about our families. Having someone so close that you can consider them a brother is a nice thing to have, and I am certainly glad for the friendship that he and I share.
He’s told me deeply personal things about his life and has shared with me his dreams and goals. not to mention of course any relationship woes or frustrations about the job. And in return I’ve given him that same level of honesty as well.
Roger is crude, he can be quick to anger (especially when shippers or dispatchers drop the ball, or when dealing with idiot drivers on the road) and when it comes to spirituality and religion, he and I have vastly different opinions. Another interesting tidbit is while I did a couple years at college, he didn’t even graduate high school. And yet he has a good amount of wisdom behind that scraggly beard of his. All around, he’s a crazy troublemaker who I sometimes have to jokingly admonish, but he’s also a great all-around hard-working guy.
Roger had one hell of a day on Monday. He told me about it on our phone call this morning.
He arrived at his shipper on the outskirts of Houston, Texas and checked into the facility. After being directed to head to the office in order to check in, he was told that he was at the wrong building and that he needed to drive around to this other building. So he drove around found the correct building and went inside.
He tells the lady behind the counter that he was there to pick up his load. She looks at him and asks for his paperwork. He doesn’t have any. Dispatch didn’t give him anything except for a simple pickup number. She then tells him to call his dispatch and have them fax over the paperwork. Roger calls his dispatcher, explains the situation and dispatch says okay we’ll take care of it. After 45 minutes of waiting , not to mention a bunch of connection errors, the fax finally comes through. The lady takes the paperwork, crunches the numbers and does her thing. She then gives the paperwork back to Roger and says okay, head over to dock 18. Roger does as she says… even though the paperwork she gave him says he needs to be at dock 21A.
So he heads over to the warehouse and tries to find someone who can clarify whether he’s supposed to be at dock 18 or dock 21A. He’s told to have a seat and that somebody in a red pickup will be by shortly and they will answer his question. Three hours and 104 degrees later with no red pickup in sight, my buddy is starting to get pissed. Finally somebody walks up to him and asks are you waiting to get loaded? Roger explains the situation to the man who then says oh you need to be in dock 21A! Roger is now livid because his day has already been wasted and he’s been getting the runaround.
This man just so happens to be the guy who is in charge of getting Roger’s trailer loaded. He listens patiently and offers to help Roger out. He takes Roger to the correct dock, helps back him into the facility, and gets the loading taken care of. After loading Roger’s flatbed trailer, the man again apologizes for the delay and says that he has already contacted his supervisor so they can remedy the situation for Roger.
After loading is completed, Roger pulls around and starts strapping up his load. Soon the supervisor shows up and says that he’s sorry for the frustrations and the lack of information that was given regarding the need for paperwork. He says that they are going to rectify the situation and make it easier in the future. Roger thanks the supervisor and continues strapping up his load.
He’s starting to have some serious trouble now because he hasn’t had any water for over an hour and a half, and he’s out. Not to mention it’s over a hundred degrees and he’s doing some very physical work in the hot sun. He decides to take a break and get back into his truck with the AC on in order to cool off. After a couple minutes he tries to go back outside to finish tarping his load, but he just can’t do it. He’s too weak and tired. He’s too exhausted and heads back to his truck. He puts his head on the steering wheel and just tries to soak in the air conditioning.
Suddenly there’s a knock on his door. Roger rolled down his window to see another driver standing there asking if he was okay. Roger explains the situation and how he’s out of water and just can’t finish tarping at the moment. The other driver says just a second, I’ll be right back. The driver returns with several bottles of water. After helping Roger get rehydrated, he then offers to finish tarping the load for him, that way Roger could replenish his strength and drive out of the facility. Soon enough Roger’s taking care of and he’s on his way.
We talked about this today and I remarked about how amazing it is that some people can act as guardian angels in disguise. Roger commented yeah, I guess there are good people still left in the world. But the takeaway that I got from Roger’s story was much different from his.
I think the biggest difference between the two of us comes down to a matter of faith. Roger considers himself spiritual, but not religious. Whereas I am a firm believer in God and am an Orthodox Christian. Roger’s story reminded me that God is for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you are spiritual but not religious or an atheist or a devout Christian, God loves everyone, and he looks out for all of us. In Roger’s case I believe the people who helped him out were angels in disguise. It’s proof to me that even when things are going really rough, God isn’t going to abandon you.
How we respond to God’s love is up to us however.
Thank you all for the support you’ve given me over the last few days, I really appreciate it. Next week I’m attending the Ancient Faith writers and podcasters conference at the Antiochian Village in Pennsylvania. I’m really looking forward to it and seeing how I can expand this crazy endeavor of mine.
Until next time my friends,
Roger & I in Anderson, South Carolina