In early July, my family and I took a road trip from the Northwestern suburbs of Chicago to middle of nowhere Kentucky. Eight hours one way sounded fun at the time of planning (“We can sightsee, we’ll drive through different states, we’ll play games in the car”), but in the midst of it, well, you know the drill. It was more like, “When are we there yet? Are we almost there? What time will we get there?”
Despite my best efforts to introduce the license plate game, road trip scavenger hunt and other games I remember playing as a kid in an era not privy to electronics, my kids were not as amused.
But, what did take was the air pump to neighboring truck drivers.
You see, the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) opened up a new appreciation for the people behind the big rig. And, sharing the road with the plethora of trucks (and man, there were a TON of trucks) gave me the opportunity to explain to my kids how different trucks transport different things, whether it be produce, milk, toys or medicine. My 6-year-old son doesn’t like to read Food Logistics because it doesn’t have any superheroes. But, at this moment in time, I was able to educate my son that yes, in fact, it does cover superheroes. The people we interview may not wear capes, but they’re agile, resilient and powerful in their own ways.
These men and women make a difference in the supply chain. They make a difference in people’s lives. Whether it be making sure a child’s birthday present arrives on time or ensuring that restaurants and supermarkets are stocked with the right food at the right time (think temperature-controlled), truck drivers matter.
So, thank you to the truck drivers who humored my 9.5-year-old daughter by honking that horn. Sometimes it was a long blow. Sometimes it was in sing-song format. Sometimes it was a small honk accompanied by a wave or a smile. Either way, nine times out of 10, those truck drivers honked upon seeing my daughter’s air pump out the window. We would then exchange smiles, waves and thumbs up. But, what those truck drivers don’t realize is that my smile, wave and thumbs up isn’t thanking them for honking that horn; it’s for doing what they do.
Road trip or not, let’s give it up to the truck drivers—the men and women behind the big rig who keep America moving.