How Do We Get This Guy Back

At some point you will figure out that I am the guy who talks to strangers. Most people like to talk. I like to listen. People who do their job well impress me. Remember, how much I enjoyed my 7-8 minutes with the shoe shine man. Imagine my joy of meeting a cabbie, who does his job well. Now, imagine that this cabbie drove trucks for 4 years.

An experience and observant trucker can observe a cabbie who drives well and one that doesn't. Trust me. I have had both. This driver was smooth. He rarely touched the brake. He anticipated. He was a professional. We began talking. His accent was definitely African. Over the years, I have conversed with a few marathon runners from Kenya. His accent was similar, but not the same. He was from the Sudan. He quickly pointed out that He is an American.

He asked what I was doing in the Phoenix area. I told him that I worked with Freightliner and that we were doing some training in the Phoenix area. That is when he told me that he was a trucker from 2005-2009. He left to join the US Army. Between 2009-2012, he served 3 tours in Iraq. He said that he loved driving trucks. I asked him, why he would not go back to trucking. He told me that he would love to go back to driving truck. He has 4 children and his wife wants him home.

The trucking industry lost a good man and a good driver to the US Army in 2009. He told me that one of his friends now owns 5 trucks and would like my cabbie to driver for him. Losing this man to the US Army probably was not a failure of the industry. This man was proud of his service. That is a good thing. What we need to do is figure out how to get him back.

Trucking is a diverse industry. We require long hours to succeed. Driving a cab is not necessarily an easy career choice either. The cab drivers that I talk to do not have 9-5 jobs either. So- why haven't we gotten this driver back?

The industry should be working on a way to get this driver back behind the wheel of a truck. That is where he would like to be. This man should be able to follow his passion. He clearly loves to drive. He is good at it. Don't try to tell me that we have a driver shortage when we can't get this man back. What we have is a failure to innovate.

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Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark of Kewaunee, WI has been driving a truck for 24 years. He has been an owner operator for 11 years.

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