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Driver Lifestyles

The Best and the Worst: Expediter's Stories

By Jeff Jensen, Editor
Posted Nov 23rd 2010 10:12AM

windy_road.jpgWe all remember the "Best Run Ever" and that "Run From Hell".  In fact, we've probably told those stories in the truck stop restaurant, parking lot, or just about anywhere expediters gather.

There are those loads that stay with us all of our driving careers - the good ones because they don't occur often enough and the the bad ones because we hope we never see them again.

Compare these stories with your own and if you feel yours are pleasant enough to make an EO reader smile or bad enough to bring him to tears, contact Jeff Jensen, Editor.  

George McDonald - "I would have to say that my "Best Run Ever" was on the Fourth of July a few years ago - just after I got my Western Star."

"Roberts Express called me with a run picking up four miles from my house in Newport News, VA that was going to Ft. Drum, NY, seventeen miles from where I grew up.  That's where my mother, two sisters and a lot of my extended family still live."

"This was a 'repair and return' load, so I took it to Ft. Drum and delivered it on Friday night. I waited for them to fix it over the weekend and spent time with the family.  I picked it up Sunday night and delivered it to Newport News on Monday morning."

"The round trip totaled around 1400 miles and because of the waiting time over the weekend ( a family reunion for me) it paid over $3600.00.  I think that was the best load I've had in expediting."

George says his "Run From Hell" took place in winter time when he picked up a load in Allentown, PA.  He tells us that it took him an hour and a half to get out of the truck stop because of two tractor-trailers stuck in the parking lot. 

Once free of the the truck stop, it took two more hours to drive the ten miles to the pick up.  Then, he says, he was almost to the shipper when he had to detour another ten miles because of a low clearance problem.

George picks up the story, "By this time, I was getting Qualcomm messages that I was running more than four hours late even though I had told them about the weather.  I made it to the delivery, but when I backed up to the door, my landing gear was frozen and wouldn't lower."

"The forklift driver said he was going to pull into the box and I told him that he wasn't.  We had a few words that were picked up on a microphone hanging from the dock ceiling.  The owner came out and demanded to know what was going on.  Anyway, after I got out of there, my carrier called to say that the company owner had called to tell them I was over four hours late and that I was abusive to his dock worker (the dispatcher mentioned that the owner had also cussed them out). 

By this time, I was so disgusted by the whole thing I told them to just give them the run for free - a $150.00 load.  I also told them that I would never knowingly go back to that plant.

terryo.jpg Terry and Rene' O'Connell have been expediting since 1989, so they naturally have some loads that stand out in their memories.  One of those runs occurred in their first week in the business and provided a real education about "Runs from Hell".

"When we first started with Roberts Express, there was no orientation.  What we understood, however, was that we were to receive directions from pick up to delivery. We got a shipment going from Columbia, MO to Pittsburgh, PA.  It was a single pallet of firebrick that weighed 1,900 pounds."

"Unfortunately, I was in the office doing the paperwork when the forklift driver loaded the skid and of course, he put it right on the back of the van and then he left.  Our van at the time was a GMC 1500 conversion van - a 1/4 ton vehicle.  When I got back out to the truck, I found the back squatting down as low as it could."

Terry continues, "Well, being new to the business, we thought that we had better make the best of it, so we got going.  All through the night, we had oncoming traffic flashing their lights at us because our lights were blinding them."

"The Qualcomm and it's directions feature was brand new at that time, but we relied on it to take us all the way there.  We assumed that the local directions picked up where the city-to-city directions dropped off.  So, we drove along the Pennsylvania Turnpike looking for a local route that of course, didn't intersect with the Turnpike."

"We drove two or three exits past Pittsburgh and said to ourselves, 'gee, we must have missed the exit, lets go back', not thinking it would have been appropriate to look at a map.  We called our company and blamed everyone but ourselves, but they explained how to use the directions and we were on our way again."

"We got closer to the delivery, but we couldn't find the place because every road in Pittsburgh is a 'road from hell'; none of the roads seemed to connect and they all had massive potholes and us with 1,900 pounds in the back."

"We finally made it to the delivery and we were dead tired by the time we were unloaded - but, a little wiser in the use of directions."

Terry and Rene's "Best Run Ever" doesn't take quite as long to tell - the good runs never do.  They say they were on their way back to the house on a Friday night after a $3,500.00 week (not bad for a cargo van), when they were dispatched on an escort load picked up in Crane, IN on Monday and going to Yuma, AZ.  The run paid $2,900.00! 

"We didn't even carry any freight, but just escorted a tractor-trailer with a government load. We got there at around midnight and because the big truck parked in a 'safe haven', they cut us loose."


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