My Fool-Proof Brainstorms for Mastering The Truck Stop
Everything in life changes
The majority of things in life will change over the course of time. Music, clothing, marriages and relationships they all change.. But one thing has hardly changed enough to be noticed. I am referring to that solid American standard: Truck stops.
From the birth of over-the-road truckers, God bless the man or woman who had the brilliant idea (while cooking bacon and eggs one Winter morning), "Hey, if my family has to eat. Those truck drivers need to eat," proclaimed "Dixie DuPree," of Low Creek, Tx. And with a little financial help, she was on her way to making a fortune by opening "Dixie's 24-Hour Trucker's Paradise," and took an early retirement because she had more money than she and her grandchildren could spend in one lifetime.
Truck stops are works of faith
Not many will argue this point. There is money to be made in truck stops. While some truck stop owners "lost their shirt," by lack of sound management or the new interstate wasn't built where the truck stop owners had thought or some other reason, the "heavy-hitters," of truck stops survived and thrived. Places like the "Flying G," "Iowa 80," dubbed the world's bigges truck stop and others too numerous to mention.
Now do not misunderstand. Early truck stops were as rough as a smoky barroom on Saturday night to be found. The truck drivers despised the people driving cars and trucks or "Four wheelers," and hated it when these people, some with families on vacation, made the big mistake of confusing a truck stop with a family restaurant. Soon, the vacationing family, tired and road-weary, grew irate from not given immediate service, started to say hateful things so their waitress (who zoomed to and fro in front of them) and then a tired and road weary trucker would hear their complains and call them out. A mild brawl would erupt and in would step the truck stop owner, a tall, cigar-smoking retired Marine and with a yell or two, the brawl was history.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The facility features separate entrances for truckers and regular commuters.
Iowa 80 is the world's largest truck stop, located along Interstate 80 off exit 284 in Walcott, Iowa. Set on a 220-acre (89 ha) plot of land (four times larger than an average truck stop)—75 acres (30 ha) of which are currently developed—the site receives 5,000 visitors daily, and features a 67,000 sq ft (6,200 m2) main building, parking for 900 trucks, and 15 fuel pumps, with each fuel pump also having another dedicated pump for dispensing bulk diesel exhaust fluid.. Four-hundred and fifty employees staff the megaplex.
Iowa 80 is currently affiliated with the TravelCenters of America chain.
Brawls gave truck stops a bad name
It was incidents like this that gave the truck stop and its counterpart, the smoky bar room such a bad image. People in mainstream America were soon saying, "Decent people aren't seen in those sin holes," lumping the truck stop and smoky bar room into one category.
As for truck stops, I recall my dad telling me when I was a kid that if you wanted a fight really quick, just stop at a truck stop and start saying things you shouldn't say and bragging on your truck or clothes. Then your wish would come true with some angry truck driver's hard fist.
It's still this way today in a few places. I remember in the late 80's, my family and I were on vacation in Tennessee and made our way to Kentucky to just see the sights. Hunger hit us, so with no restaurant franchices in sight, "I" suggested we eat at the next food establishment. What a foolish idea that was.
We do not want to make truckers angry
First-hand experience is the best kind
We found a place called "John's Eats," or something of that nature and pulled in and parked. I knew I had screwed-up when I saw more than 20 diesel rigs parked in the parking area. But I didn't say anything to my family. As soon as we opened the door, it was obvious. This was a truck stop. The owners had a huge banner over the dining area which read . . ."We are a truck stop. We cater to the trucker FIRST. If you do not get served first, we are not sorry. Or if you want to eat quicker, please leave and drive down the road to where you will find a burger joint soon." "What are they pulling, discrimination?"
What scared me the worst was an African-American family were sitting near us in the "Family Waiting Area," and I thought, yeah, these customers will not tolerate such trash as this sign. But they did to my disappointment. I had thought that these customers would have protested and I would have joined them in our rebellion of such treatment, but by looking at the number of truckers sitting around laughing, smoking, drinking coffee and telling vulgar jokes, we were outnumbered and out-gunned.
When I learn something. I learn
After eating what resembled a slice of meatloaf with some veggies, we made out way out and headed down the road. Not a word was spoken for miles. Finally I apologized for such a lack of judgement. When I'm licked. I'm licked.
So for any of you, your family, neighbors, and coworkers, I am going to reveal
My Fool-Proof Brainstorms for Mastering The Truck Stop
1.) First I buy myself a station wagon -- I am not choosy of make and model just so it runs. My wife and roll into a random truck stop with Chuck Norris, former Martial Arts Champ, Chuck Norris, walking a few steps behind us, but with his head down as to not be "made." My wife and I sit down to be served with Norris sitting a few seats down from us. After thirty-minutes, I start by saying, "Hey, I have loads of cash. Can we get some food?" A silence engulfs the restaurant. Truckers glare at us. I guess to give me a break, start back eating, smoking, and telling vulgar jokes. I repeat my question. This time harsher. Then one fed-up trucker stomps toward us, tells me to shut up. Then I reply, "I will shut-up, but only if that man over there says for me to." The angry trucker sees Chuck Norris stand to his feet, crack his knuckles, and wink at the smart alec. "Oh, sorry. I didn't know. Please. Let me buy you and your wife and buddy a meal." And after we dine, I pay Chuck Norris whatever price he wants.
2.) The "Three Amigo System" -- on the same design as hiring Chuck Norris, this time I hire former wrestlers, Bill Goldberg and Steve "Sting" Borden to walk into a truck stop with my wife and me. Yes, I feed and pay these burly men as well. We sit between them on the stools at the dining counter. Our waitress, strangely polite, stops to explain the policy of "us" being served last. That's all Goldberg and Sting need to get up and ask the entire restaurant, "Anyone here object to my friend, Kenneth and his wife, Pam, and my buddy, Bill Goldberg and I getting served ASAP?" Silence covers the crowd of truckers. "That's what I thought," Borden says and orders for all of us.
3.) The "Dining Counter Stare" -- is similar to G.I.'s who fought in the jungles of Vietnam who, if they stayed too long "in the bush," got what they called the "Thousand Yard Stare," their eyes frozen and not blinking. Just staring into space with a icy-look on their faces. I will have to learn this and then Pam can lead me in to a huge truck stop and I just sit and stare. The waitress sees me and never asks what is wrong with me. She feels fear in her blood. Pam and I eat a good meal and I still am not blinking. Pam says as we leave with over 55 amazed truck drivers still in shock at me with my icy-stare, but she says, "thank you for such great service."
4.) "Judo Plan" -- I spend bucks to master Judo, a great self-defense tool. Then I go first into a truck stop while Pam sits in the car. I go to THE meanest, roughest trucker in the place and say in his ear, "Buddy. Do you think you can take me? If you can't, my wife and I eat next. If not, we leave." Man, that rib eye steak was delicious.
5.) "Oriental Iron Hands" -- this technique takes a lot of personal discipline and sacrifice. I get this vintage round, coiled spring from underneath a junk car and start my training of squeezing it in and out, hour after hour, day after day until I am ready for Pam and me to eat at another truck stop which has a horrible reputation. I walk in similar to the "Judo Plan," and pick the meanest trucker in the joint. I say to him, "Friend, I want to make a bet with you. See this porcelain coffee cup? If I can break it into pieces with my left hand, my wife and I will leave, but if I can break this cup, we eat soon." The trucker laughs, shakes my hand, and he bends over his table screaming for a doctor. "That was my weak hand, friend. Here goes," I say while bursting the coffee cup into millions of little shivers." The meal my wife and I had was good, but I felt so bad I took up a hefty-donation from the poor trucker's friends to pay for his visit to the emergency room. It was so easy to collect for him. Hardly anyone complained.
6.) "Bigfoot is hungry" -- I tell you that this strategy would get me on CNN, Fox and all of the noted news networks. I would have to tame a Bigfoot, but not cage him. It might take years to teach him how to sit, be quiet and even make oral sounds as if he is talking. Pam asks to sit this one out for fear of being embarrassed by Bigfoot and me. It is simple. Bigfoot and I walk into the truck stop. Sit down and the waitress runs to our booth and warns me, "You can't have that . . .that . . .uhhh, thing in here." "Tell him that, ma'am," I say. Needless to say, we eat until we are full. And with no trouble from any trucker. Bigfoot even growls a friendly "thank you," grabs his gallon of coffee to go and we go.
7.) "Humility Plan" -- Pam and I walk into a truck stop. Walk up to the longest table with a lot of truckers enjoying some time off. I get their attention and say, "Sirs, I know that this is YOUR restaurant. No argument there. I was wondering if you minded if my wife and I get served in the next half-hour?" The main trucker is appreciative of my humble method of getting service and agrees. (What Pam will never know is that prior to us visiting the truck stop, I went there and talked with the truck drivers and told them that Pam likes truck stop food and if we come in "their place" and doesn't get served right away, her, being a Black Belt in Karate, Ju Jitsu, and Kung Fu might lose her temper." It was that simple.
Now if one of you will sing me a truck driving song by Merle Haggard, I will bid you all a good night.
SPECIAL BULLETIN: I do not feel like crawling into my station wagon just yet, so as a bonus, I am going to GIVE you as a WARNING . . .
Things That You Never Say in a Truck Stop
- "Hey, did you get my food from a dumpster?"
- "Excuse me, sir, I want to, oops, you are a woman waitress. Uhhh, sorry."
- "Are you truckers so weak that you have to depend on cigarettes to relax?"
- "Some of you truck drivers had tires low of air on your trucks, so I took them off for you."
- "It's a mystery to me how you guys and girls drive those big rigs when all of your I.Q's added together would be 11."
- "I think you 'gear jammers' should buy my dinner since YOU kept me waiting for so long."
Note: now and I mean NOW . . .you can sing me that trucking song by Merle Haggard. I have suddenly lost my appetite!"