The driving career journey contains many lessons and one day early in my career, I learned a lot.

At this time, I was driving a rather small Dodge D500 refrigerated body straight truck plying my trade in the foodservice industry. The time of year was shortly before Thanksgiving, which made people in the foodservice industry incredibly busy.  

My primary commodity throughout the year was fresh chicken. During November, fresh turkey became the primary commodity I delivered.  On this particular day, I was dispatched to make a pickup outside of my county at Koch’s Turkey Farm in Tamaqua, PA. I was rather excited as I typically delivered within my county. My directions consisted of two landmarks, the second one being to turn right where an abandoned white mobile home was sitting. Next, I was to follow the road back to the turkey farm for my load.

I set out on my journey with very little money in my pocket and no fuel card. The Dodge was always filled at the yard, and this run was short enough that fuel should not have been a concern. The directions did not have the road name only the old white abandoned mobile home where I needed to make a right. I continued looking for the mobile home till I saw the signs that I was nearing Centralia, PA, which I knew was past where I needed to be. Another area of concern was that this little Dodge D500 powered by a 318 C.I.D. gasoline-powered engine was running low on fuel. The small 20-gallon fuel tank was approaching the ½ way mark. This, combined with only a few dollars in my pocket, had me on alert. I felt that indeed, I was truly lost.

Seeing as this was long before cell phones or GPS’s, my options were minimal. I found a small store with a payphone out front and called back to the office. I placed my call, which was long distance taking up most of my change and at this time much-needed gas money. The weather was in the low thirties, drizzling rain, and I was miserable waiting for them to call me back on the payphone. When the phone finally rang, I found out there was a good reason for missing the road with no name and the old white mobile home on the corner. The old white mobile home had been relocated.

Next, I left the gas station armed with an actual road name of Valley Rd off of highway 209. With no difficulties, I located Koch’s Turkey Farm and got loaded.  My next stop was the gas station, and I used my few dollars to add fuel and skipped my lunch. I knew that once the little Dodge D500 was loaded, the truck would use even more fuel and I would rather go hungry than have the reefer shut off for lack of fuel.

Lessons learned from this day:

  • Never leave home without enough money for emergencies
  • Get the correct street names not just landmarks

Looking back on that fateful day I am appreciative of:

  • Cell Phones
  • Google Maps
  • Debit Cards

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Henry Albert

Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc., based in Statesville, NC. Before participating in the "Slice of Life" program, Albert drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class S/Tâ„¢, and will use his Cascadia for general freight and a dry van trailer. Albert, who has been a trucker since 1983, was recognized by Overdrive as its 2007 Trucker of the Year.

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