Truck drivers and trucking executives in Canada paid homage to one of their own who passed away in early July. The amount of respect the Canadian trucking industry has for this man is enormous, as evidenced by more than 100 big rigs lining up on Highway 404 in Ontario for Don Anderson's funeral procession. If nothing else, the procession was a reminder that truckers on both sides of the border belong to a unique and special fraternity.
Don Anderson was the founder of a trucking company that became one of the biggest names in Canadian trucking. He became a professional trucker when the industry was still in its infancy, going on to build a very sizable fleet and a business that was both well-known and truly respected.
Anyone questioning the trucking industry's love and appreciation for Anderson would no longer have such questions after seeing his funeral procession. Many of the trucks making up the procession were from Anderson's rivals. On this day though, all the competition of business was set aside to honor a man instrumental in making trucking in Canada what it is today.
A Different Kind of Life
There are quite a few professions in which career workers exist within their own cultural fraternities. Police officers and firefighters are but one example. Trucking is one of those professions as well. Why? Because trucking is not just a job; it is a whole way of life that is not comparable to anything else. No other profession has workers spending a 40-year career working in virtual isolation despite being surrounded every day by thousands of others on the roads.
No other profession has workers sleeping in their offices 5 to 6 nights per week. No other career path, except for the military perhaps, has its workers spending more time away from home. The one thing truckers have to depend on is one another, and they do so quite frequently. They share a life-on-the-road experience that only they truly know the nuances of.
Those who know of the strong bond between truckers would not be surprised by the funeral procession in Canada back in early July. Those same processions happen here in the States as well. It does not matter if a driver works for a big carrier like C.R. England, a smaller regional carrier, or as an owner-operator – there is a mutual bond of respect that exists among all truckers, both male and female.
Truckers Make a Real Difference
Being part of a unique fraternity is one of the things that motivates truck drivers to continue doing what they do. They know that no matter how many miles they put in, they are never truly alone. There are other truck drivers there to lend a helping hand to any driver in need.
In addition to that fraternity is the knowledge that truck drivers make a real difference. Truck drivers know that without them, America's store shelves would not be nearly as full. They know that a robust trucking industry is what keeps retail prices low and inventories high. And they know that without them, our economy would come to a screeching halt.
It is true that trucking is one of countless career choices young people have to choose from. Trucking represents but one opportunity to start and run a successful business. But few other industries or career choices are as strongly fraternal as trucking. When was the last time you saw a group of engineers set aside their own ability to earn a paycheck and line up in a hundreds-long procession in honor of fallen colleague?