He walked through the grocery store with the list his wife had given him for last minute items for Thanksgiving dinner. He’d only been home an hour and had driven all night just to manage that. But he’d be home at the table surrounded by his family on Thanksgiving and that was worth his fatigue.
He walked to the dairy isle and picked up the milk, butter and yogurt, marking them off the list. He smiled as he realized he’d delivered them all. He grabbed the brown-and-serve rolls and the sodas and made his way to the checkout. Folks complained about the long lines and how long they had to wait. He chuckled, remembering the two days he’d waited to pick up the load of turkeys they would slice up and devour.
As he inched closer to the cashier, his last trip played in his mind. The snow that came out of nowhere, forcing him to inch forward on untreated roads. The dreaded blowout he had under the cover of darkness and the long wait for someone to come and replace the tire, every moment chipping away at his fourteen-hour clock. Not to mention the traffic from an accident that had traffic snarled for hours.
Yet through every obstacle, the driver had inched forward through the darkness, committed to getting the load of turkeys on America’s table for Thanksgiving. But here and now, he was surrounded by many folks stood in line at the checkout, none of whom gave a single thought about how the items they waited to purchase got to the store.
The driver smiled. He knew all too well. He understands the sacrifice the driver makes to feed America. He knows the mechanic who wallowed in grease under his truck to keep it running properly. And the fleet manager who works as many hours as he does, keeping him running and providing a living for his family. He knows the Road Assist army who is sitting at the phone at 2am and just seems to know who to wake up to change his blown tire in Nowhere, Nebraska in the middle of the night.
He realizes America doesn’t know. But it’s ok because he does and strangely, at that moment, that seemed like enough. As he made his way to his pickup truck and snaked through town back to his home, he realized the full weight of how important his job is. He is proud to be a trucker, to provide everything America could possibly need or want. Without him, America doesn’t eat. America stops.
He sat down at the table with his family, pushing back the fatigue that clawed at him. They bowed their heads and he said grace, giving thanks for every person who played a part in keeping him running. He carved the turkey and sat back, taking in the laughter of his children as they retold a calamity at school that week. He looked at his wife with such admiration, knowing the incredible job she does with the kids while he is on the road. The trucker takes it all in, knowing all too soon, he’ll leave it behind and take to the open road again.
He’s proud to be a trucker. He’s thankful for all he has, made possible by the work of his own hands. He’s the heartbeat of America and thanks to him, the heartbeat of America is alive and well.
To all our drivers, fleet managers and dispatchers, support personnel and those behind the scenes who provide the glue that holds our fleet together, may you experience all the joy and splendor this holiday can bring. As you sit with your family and friends on Thanksgiving, know how much we are thankful for you!
Written by Reba J. Hoffman
Reba J. Hoffman joined Prime in 2014 after spending a year riding her bicycle alone around the country helping women victims of violent assault. A therapist by trade, Reba uses her understanding of people and how they tick to help them live their dream of being a trucker by serving as a PSD instructor. When out of her truck, you’ll find her somewhere in the wilds of nature.