Confessions of a Truck driver.
Memories that will last!
Yes, that photo is what used to be my truck. I worked for Verizon for 21 years and looking at that picture, I can re-live stories of life on the road. I started to work for Verizon on April 14, 1989 and started out as a Delivery person. The company was, formally, called Bell Atlantic. Previously, I had worked in my job as a cab driver and was relieved to be working with the phone company and not put my life on the line. At first, life was good and easy. I drove a company van. The fax machine wasn't on the scene and I delivered loads of paper, not to mention electrical equipment.
There were times in which I had loads of computer paper to deliver.One of my stops was at Newport News, Virginia, The place was at Huntington Street. The building looked like a 1940's relic and I had to deliver,sometimes, heavy boxes to the upstairs floor because it had no elevator. The hand truck made life easy, but it was hard work!
Not withstanding, life was good. I enjoyed driving around the area and taking my breaks whenever I wanted to. Sometimes, all I had to deliver was paper and that was it. I had it made! When the '90's came and technology arrived, I said-OH, OH! Paper deliveries were diminishing and contractors were being hired by the company. Layoff seemed eminent for me!
I have good memories truck driving!
How would you like to drive a Truck?
Then, something happened! I was approached by my Supervisor to take some classes and learn how to drive a truck! At first, I was apprehensive, but then I considered the cost. Risk getting laid off or learn how to drive a truck! I decided for the later and signed up to learn about Truck driving in 1993!
At first, it was rough. I had to study a manual on truck safety and regulations. Then, I had to take a driving and oral test. Thank God I passed. Then, I worked as a truck driver. I was faced with challenges. Challenges because more was required of me. I had to get used to the idea that I was driving a big truck and not a van.
One of the most heaviest jobs was picking up paper shreds. Believe it or not, most of these Verizon centers do not have an elevator, so I had to improvise. When you had to pick up on the second floor heavy paper shreds, you find a way to get it downstairs and that can put a heavy toll on your body.
Then pickups would come in the form of pallets with pebbles that Verizon workers use for their jobs. Each pallet would weigh 1,000 pounds. There were times that I had to load it on the truck with a forklift and that was challenging. If you did not do it right, you could get hurt or killed! At times, I would pick up heavy cables that would weigh more than 1,000 pounds! As a truck driver, you had to position this in the right way, or you would cause the truck to tip over!
Then came the big time. I graduated to nights! My hours would be from 10:30-6:00 am. Believe me, this was indeed a learning experience. One of the things that would stay on my mind is that this business can be unforgiving. Any little thing that can go wrong can result in an accident or even a loss of life. Every night I would inspect my truck. The tires and the lights, as well as other things were of prime importance.
One time, I had trouble with the air brakes and had trouble stopping. It was morning rush hour and, thank God, traffic was flowing, so I got off one of the exits. I was in a shopping mall, calling my mechanic and praying. When I,finally, figured out a way to stop-I breathed a sign of relief. Many drivers take driving for granted, but few realize the dangers out there, especially from trucks on the road! Who knows if the truck driver sharing the road with you could have some mechanical problems?
There were times in which I had to work hard. Many times, I had to shrink wrap a pallet. That process can drain you, especially when doing it on a hot day. Shrink wrap is good because it helps to keep the boxes in one spot. Also, using the straps on the truck can be a lifesaver, as well as the pallet jack.
Weight placement is important. When a truck is carrying a load that is too heavy, it could damage the road or its axles, that is why it is important to go through the scales. Fines can be pretty high, especially, if you are overweight or don't have the proper paperwork. Speed is, also, a factor. Drivers, please be careful and don't cut in front of a big truck. It takes a distance to stop and if it has a big load, you could, indirectly, cause it to tip over!
I have fond memories of my time as a truck driver. Sure, I have gotten hurt in the past, but nothing that serious. Accidents, I had a few, but thank God, no lives lost. Driving was in my blood and I enjoyed every minute of it, be it snow, rain or shine-The work must go on! It was rough leaving my job, but it was time for a change. I took my pension money and said Adios! I am now in full time ministry and enjoy my work. One thing is for sure-I will, always, have a place in my heart for truck driving!
Other on the road links!
- My Experiences as a Taxi driver
Few people the responsibilities of a cab driver. A cab driver works long hours. Fighting traffic and dealing with all kinds of people can be a challenge. A look at my personal story.