Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Meeting Helga

Another long day. Attend orientation class, gather paperwork and documents, run errands at lunch and after class. Today, Mindi gave us the keys and we introduced ourselves to Helga, a 2008 Hino. Why 'Helga'? It seems to suit her. She's large, sturdy, and more handsome than pretty. Although she has only 153k miles, she's been ridden hard. The sleeper is smaller than I'd hoped, but it'll do. Between Hoss and I, we'll figure out how to make it a home on the road.

Several people from the office building were brought in to class to train us in their specialty - safety & compliance, driver logs, insurance - and then we went to the garage to meet Butch, the head mechanic, who went over securing loads.

Every employee we've met has been very down to earth. Most wore jeans and a sweatshirt or sweater, an intentional dress code meant to put the drivers at ease and foster communication. And each of them freely hands out their cell phone number and promises to answer your call, no matter the time or day. They live and breathe to support the drivers, and it's obvious that they all really do appreciate them.

There were 17 in our orientation. Not surprisingly, there was a variety of characters among us: a lean and lanky blond cowboy teamed with a short, stubby, dimwitted sidekick; a man as old as dirt, with long yellow-white straggly hair and who had spent so much time on the road all he wanted to do was talk, talk, talk; a man of about 40, dressed in camo and missing his front teeth, but smart as a whip and quick witted, too; a husband / wife team with three sons, all Marines, and one of whom was killed in Iraq last year - they'd decided it was time to try something they'd always wanted to do; a quiet and friendly man with greying hair and a wide smile, who was a dead ringer for 'Chief' in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'; and an astoundingly stupid fuscia-haired middle aged woman who left her two teenaged sons at home to join a MUCH younger new internet boyfriend on the road.

Good gawd, I got lucky when I found Hoss.

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