It's a Team's Life
Shut off the TV and look out the windshield
Our freight has been good, maybe even a little better than good for our operation. The rates have been exceptional, the fuel surcharge (FSC) is still high, and fuel is unbelievable cheap. Traffic in most areas is less than usual and so far, no rush hour traffic jams. On the weekends, traffic seems as if it is a lot busier on the local streets.
Our freight has been varied with some liftgate work, some military work, and a couple of loads where we used a dock. We have dealt with all types of shippers and receivers, and while some are taking a lot of precautions, others are business as usual. A few have worn gloves and none have had on face masks. There is less handshaking being done, but still, some have forgotten and shake our hands to say Thank You for bringing our freight. When we get back in the truck, we wash our hands and go about our business.
We are even more thankful for truck stops then we have been in the past as they are doing everything they can to stay open for business. All of the sit-down restaurants have been closed, which makes me wonder if they will ever reopen. The fast-food places have all been open for business, and while some have chairs at every other table’s others have the tables roped off or all the chairs removed. The counters have all been open to place an order. I have not seen any fast food places where someone would have to use the drive-up window though I have heard from trusted sources that they have done this with no problem. The travel stores have been well-stocked, and while the food that we would get ourselves has been removed, there are still many choices. Some stores will even let you get your own coffee using their cups to fill your thermos, but there has not been a shortage of coffee.
So far, for us, trucking is trucking, and we are making money. I am not sure why people have decided we are starving and need to give us goody bags, but that is not something we will accept. In my opinion, creating goody bags is another form of hoarding that is not needed. If you want to thank a truck driver, then take this time to learn how to drive around trucks and give us space.
Yesterday I was talking to a lady that used to drive with her husband but now rides due to illness.
She was saying that after they deliver on Monday, they are going home as they are afraid of getting robbed of their freight or not being able to deliver. She also was fearful that they might get stuck away from home and not be able to get home. I asked if they had been having any problems and she said no, but you never know. For her and her husband, they need to go home to feel safe, so they do not overreact to a perceived situation.
Longtime friends that are dedicated to one customer or have specialized trailers are concerned about their freight drying up. This might happen for a while, but there are other companies begging for help. Some of these drivers have already started looking at options and are excited about what they see while others have decided to become Chicken Little.
What are the ways to stay positive while all of our lives are changing? For us looking out the windshield and seeing a lot of positive people getting the job done. The shippers and receivers that we have talked with are glad to have a job and are positive. We have heard of a couple of businesses that closed before the truck could get there, but arraignments were made on where to get unloaded. We had one load they decided they did not want in their warehouse, and we had to wait while they brought in another truck to transfer our freight onto. We are in different times right now, and we need patience.
I noticed a young man as I was backing into a parking space at a truck stop. It was early morning, and he was out gathering trash. I will add I noticed him because of his unusual facial tattoos. In the evening we went into shower, and this young man was now cleaning showers. I asked him how long of a day he was having?
He told me the person that was supposed to come in, and clean showers did not show up, so he was doing that job. What impressed me is that he had to have been tired, yet he was still smiling and helpful. Without him, I afraid the showers would have been shut down for the night. Take the time when you see something like this to send a note to the truck stop to let them know how much you appreciate this person.
While talking to a friend this morning, he mentioned a call he received from a friend that is elderly.
This gentleman had been to see his doctor and told the doctor he was becoming very anxious about what is happening in the world and of getting sick. His doctor reassured him that if he would stay home and turn off the TV, he would start feeling a lot better immediately. I thought that was great advice.
We will run freight as long as we are able, and we will take one load or situation at a time. If we find ourselves listening to the doom and gloom of the news, then we will look out our windshield again and talk to friends.
Bob & Linda Caffee
Saint Louis MO
Expediters since January 2005
Expediting isn't just trucking, it's a lifestyle;
Expediting isn't just a lifestyle, it's an adventure;
Expediting isn't just an adventure, it's a job;
Expediting isn't just a job, it's a business.