Driving home from work today, I passed a broken down big rig that had pulled over to the side of the road. Me, I was eager to get home and get my weekend started. TGIF! Then as I passed the truck, I felt a great deal of sympathy for the truck driver, whoever he or she was and then almost guilty because I was almost home while this driver wasn't going anywhere.
It was dark already when I passed the truck, so I don't know if it was someone from out of state or a local truck. Being stranded only a few miles from home would be depressing, but not nearly as bad as being stranded on an unknown highway by a small town you have never heard of (and believe me, this guy was stranded exactly there), on a Friday night... which from what I understand is most people's favorite night of the week.
Whether the truck driver had to call their family who were waiting at home, eager to go out for dinner to celebrate the end of the week, or they were waiting to reach a truck stop to hang with fellow truckers and soak up some companionship after several hours on the road, breaking down would certainly mean a less than thrilling start on the weekend.
I'm fairly sure things will just roll downhill from there for awhile. Once the trucker has been rescued and the rig has been towed, no doubt there is a big repair bill waiting at the end of that tunnel and perhaps, just perhaps, the rig that was once new and shiney is participating on one of its last runs. It's sad.
Apart from feeling sad on behalf of the stranded trucker, I also felt happy in an odd sort of way. On my "My Space" profile, there is a box where I typed in "People that I admire"....
One of my answers is in fact "truckers stranded on the side of the road".
I feel that truckers make certain sacrifices in their lives on behalf of all of us. Without big rigs hauling goods up and down the interstate, what would we do? We'd have no clothes, no food, no iPods, no TVs... or if we did have these things, it would mean we had done one heck of a job fetching our items after purchasing them. What would we do? Rent a trailer and drive to Michigan for our new Ford pickup truck? Rent a car and drive to Seattle for our Microsoft Windows? (Oh, but wait...where would we get the car and the trailer from? We would have to WALK to a car plant, rent a car and then drive....oh geez! My head!)
Anyway, you get my drift? Without trucks and truck drivers, we'd be pretty screwed.
So when I see a driver stranded on the side of the road like that, I feel proud because I'm looking at a man or a woman who is hard working, who is pulling their weight in society (literally!), to make a living and make a life for themselves. In the process they are improving our lives by bringing us the goods we desire so much. And most likely, he or she loves their job. The few truck drivers I've known in my life so far, really loved their job. I totally respect that.
Far too many people are stuck in jobs they don't enjoy.
Tonight's stranded trucker was a lone one, but oftentimes I see that helpful samaritans stop to help the trucker out. Now, I am assuming that a person probably wouldn't pull over to help a big rig unless they knew something about fixing big rigs... i.e the samaritan is most likely another truck driver... Based on this, it seems to me that the comradery within the trucking business is a strong one. It's nice to see. Regardless of whether the helping hands are those of truckers or just regular passer-bys who wanted to help, it's nice to see that people are still willing to help each other out.
A couple of hours have gone by since I got home, and I hope the trucker has been rescued by now. Perhaps the broken part was a minor one that was not too expensive to fix. Hopefully it didn't put too big of a delay on his route, hopefully the dinner is still warm for him when he gets home... or perhaps there's a cold beer waiting at a truck stop somewhere, along with some good company.
(This is what I envision when I pass a stranded big rig... I guess people
have been stranded for as long as they've been able to travel :))