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So Trucking Nice

, , , | Friendly | May 5, 2020

I am driving cross-country, and see occasional waft of smoke coming from my engine. Worried, I pull over as soon as I can, which happens to be a truck-stop.

I open my hood to try to identify the problem. I admit I am a young guy that works in tech, and I don’t know a lot about cars or mechanics, so I am having trouble. This is apparently not lost on the group of truck-drivers who are sharing a conversation over some cigarettes in the corner. They approach me.

Driver #1: “Having some car trouble?”

Me: “Yeah, my engine is smoking a little bit, but I don’t know what to do.”

Driver #2: “Well let’s have a quick look, see what we can see.”

What follows, is four burly truck drivers huddled around my car, talking among themselves in a foreign language to me, talking about things like alternators, crank-shafts, and cylinders. It is, quite honestly, amazing.

Driver #1: “We think we know what the problem is. Lucky for you, [Driver #3] has the parts to fix it.”

Me: “Really? That’s amazing! Is it a quick fix?”

Driver #3: “Should be. How far are you driving?”

I explain my route and how I have about 300 miles left to go. He looks at the other drivers for a moment and then goes to his truck. He returns with a toolbox, and it is absolutely beautiful. Wrenches of every size you can imagine, other parts and contraptions I could never hope to identify, and again, the drivers huddle together, like a group of greasy-fingered angels.

There is a tap on my shoulder, and [Driver #1] is there, holding out a hot mug of coffee.

Driver #1: “You still have a ways to go. Make sure you stay awake and alert.”

Me: “Thank you!”

Driver #1: “It’s part of the job. When you drive thousands of miles you know how to fix things, and how to keep awake.”

Within twenty minutes, the drivers have fixed up my car, written down the exact problem and what they did, and advise me to take it to a mechanic when I get to where I am going so that they can look it over, but that I the fix should be enough to get me where I need to be.

I am so incredibly grateful, and try to offer some small compensation, but they are having none of it.

Now, whenever I am driving on the freeway and see a truck-driver, I remember this kind encounter with this group, and how they went out of their way in the little time they get for themselves, to help a mechanically-challenged stranger. I’d love to tell them that I took an online course (I’m still a tech-nerd) and read my car manual so I should be able to not be so completely lost if my car fails on me again!

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