I’m rolling down Interstate 82 heading towards Spokane this morning. I’m picking up a load, and then I’m headed to Jackson Tennessee. On the radio I hear Mick Jagger telling me that I can’t always get what I want. It really is an important reminder especially in this age of instant gratification and Amazon Prime one day shipping.
Yesterday was a somewhat difficult day for me. It all started the day before when my boss uttered those famous words. “Could you to do me a favor?” Every time my dispatcher asks me for a favor, it always ends up as this major pain in the ass ordeal. It’s usually because he forgets to mention a key detail or a certain fact that should have been known, but neglects to to tell me. In this instance it was “Hey could you go over to Georgia-Pacific, pick up a load and then drop it off the yard?”
Georgia Pacific is only like 15 miles away from the yard and as long as there are empty trailers available, then it shouldn’t be a problem. I love being a team player and helping out when I can. I dropped my loaded trailer in the yard Wednesday afternoon, I couldn’t deliver it because of some mechanical problems on the trailer, and set out looking for an empty trailer for the morning.
There were absolutely none available anywhere. I searched the yard every hour just in case somebody had brought one in, and then I called after hours dispatch just to see if there were any empty trailers available anywhere in the portland-vancouver area. Nope. Finally around 10 p.m. I got tired of looking for a trailer and I went to bed. I set my alarm for 5 a.m. and went to sleep. I got up about 5 minutes before my alarm went off because well, I slept like crap. I kept waking up every hour because my mind didn’t want to miss the alarm. My dreams? They were all about empty trailers and searching for empty trailers. My sleep was so bad that my Fitbit wouldn’t even give me a sleep score.
Before I drifted off to sleep, I said some prayers. I asked God for help and said Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, please help me find an empty trailer tomorrow. Prayers are interesting, and what’s even more interesting is how God chooses to answer our prayers. Of course in my own limited way of thinking I just assumed that I’m going to say this prayer, I’m going to trust in the Lord and everything is going to be hunky-dory and I’ll find an empty trailer first thing in the morning. Did that happen? Yes, but I was too stubborn to realize it. Here’s what happened.
5 a.m. came and I walked around the entire Portland terminal one more time looking for that magical empty trailer that was secretly dropped off in the night. No such luck. I called after hours dispatch one more time in a vain hope that they could help me. Turns out there was one available but it was 45 miles away, I wasn’t willing to drive that far. Now it’s only at this moment that I realized that first trailer that was 45 miles away was an answer to my prayers. I asked for an empty trailer didn’t I? But I didn’t want to drive that far to get it. Talk about hindsight being 20/20! I got frustrated and figured well if there are no empty trailers anywhere near me that I could grab, I’m just going to go back to bed because my dispatcher won’t be back until 7. I sent him a message explaining what was going on and then went back to bed. I slept from 5:30 to 9 a.m. and it was so good.
When I finally woke up, I had several messages from my dispatcher. What’s going on? Did we ever get that load picked up? Etc etc. I finally responded and said no empty available need help, and then I called him and explained my ordeal and what had happened. To say that he was upset, well I knew he was, but I could also tell that he was holding his temper. He gave me three or four locations in the Portland area and said try these spots to find an empty. And so part two of the great empty trailer goose chase began. From Portland I ended up down in Canby, and then up to Clackamas and then back up to Troutdale and then back to Fairview. I didn’t have any luck at any of the locations. The spot in Troutdale really pissed me off. When I arrived at the troutdale facility, there was an empty knght trailer available! When I went into the office to check in and let them know I was taking the trailer, another Knight driver had come in, hooked up and pulled my trailer away, basically stole the trailer out from underneath me. I was ducking pissed! I was pissed at the driver who took my trailer, I was pissed at myself because I didn’t just hook up to it in the first place and at the same time I didn’t understand why God wasn’t answering my prayers. I had prayed and asked for help and I wasn’t getting any. I wasn’t getting what I wanted. I called my dispatcher again and said I’m still not having any luck do you have any other suggestions? He said try going back to the yard there might be one there now. I said okay, and off I went.
There was a trailer at the yard that was empty, but it wasn’t usable because it was damaged. When I left the yard the first time I noticed that a repair crew was out working on this particular trailer. When I got back, the repair crew was gone. Was it fixed? I saw another driver walking around it, he too was looking for an empty trailer. I went up to him, explained my situation and he was kind enough to let me have the trailer. Finally I had a trailer and I could go grab that favor for my dispatcher. I arrived at Georgia Pacific six and a half hours after my appointment time but they still let me in and got me loaded. I want to say at this point I had another Knight driver help me out because the spot I had to back into was at a pretty rough angle and I had to do it blindside. It’s always nice when other drivers help each other out.
Two hours later I was done being loaded and on my way back to Fairview to drop this load off at the yard, all I had to do then was find another empty trailer. Lord have mercy. I didn’t want to go through this headache again.
As soon as I pulled into the yard I saw another driver walking towards the gate so I flagged him down and said to him “Hey brother, are there any empty trailers in the yard, I really need one!” I had prayed again while I was driving back to the yard asking God for his mercy and for his help. I also apologized for my lack of patience and understood that I was working on God’s timetable not mine. We’re always working on God’s time aren’t we? My fellow driver looked at me and smiled and said actually yeah, that Swift driver is dropping one off right now! I couldn’t believe my luck. I parked my trailer in a space not far from where this other driver was dropping the empty trailer. I quickly disconnected from my now loaded trailer, and sent in all my computer messages regarding the load. As soon as the Swift Driver dropped that Knight trailer off, I was backing up to it and hooking my connections up. Oh and in case you’re confused why a Swift Transportation driver would be moving a Knight Transportation truck, Swift and Knight merged a couple years ago. Okay, back to my story!
I took off heading back to Georgia Pacific for my next load. This one was a different Georgia-Pacific location and because of road construction it was difficult to find. Another driver and I met up as we we’re trying to find this location. We got lost probably for 20-30 minutes driving around, getting stuck, and just trying to find this stupid place. What a headache and a nightmare. My truck GPS was no help because this was a new facility. Thankfully Google was on top of it and I found the correct location and lead us in.
After dropping off our empty trailers and hooking up our loads we were finally ready to leave and start our journeys. I said goodbye to my new friend and headed to Grandview. I was hauling a load of toilet paper and needed to get to the Walmart Distribution Center before 11 p.m. that night. It was already almost 6 pm.
I said a prayer thanking God for his help and made the sign of the cross as I passed the Saint John Greek Orthodox Monastery on Highway 97. And then… one of my headlights burned out. (It’s always something right?) I said another Lord have mercy and continued to my destination. I got to the Walmart Distribution Center and was forced to put on a mask because of the Coronavirus. After dropping my loaded trailer and grabbing another Empty, I left the facility and found a place to park. I was exhausted and wanted a full night of sleep. My dreams last night were pleasant and I woke up refreshed and ready for the day. (It’s always enjoyable when you dream that you’re Superman 😀)
As I think about what I asked God to help me with, combined with my own attitude and actions, I remembered the words of the great philosopher Jagger. He once said You Can’t Always Get What You Want. However, if you try sometimes just might find, that you get what you need. I asked God for help but I didn’t have the right attitude and I wasn’t open to the understanding that sometimes you have to work on God’s schedule.
It would also help to not be stubborn when God answers your prayer the first time and you don’t realize it. Lesson learned I hope.
Thanks for reading my friends. I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your day and a great weekend. Like I said I’m getting ready to head to Jackson, Tennessee. It’ll be a nice change of pace because the freight near my area has been kind of slow lately. I hope you enjoyed my post and I’ll see you next time!