Line One
Roses & Razzberries

On Aug. 3, the Washington Post published “The Long Haul” by Tower Wells, a sensitive and insightful piece on the miserable hours, low pay and lonely existence of a truckdriver. ROSES to Wells, who joins the likes of Bryan DiSalvatore (“Large Cars, part one and two,” Sept. 1988 New Yorker), Hank Harvey (“How long can they keep trucking?” for the Toledo Blade) and a few other distinguished journalists who have written landmark pieces describing the life of a truckdriver.

ROSE goes to OOIDA member Timothy Brady and his wife Terri for their enterprising efforts in establishing the Billy Beaver program at Ridgemont Elementary School in Obion County, TN. Teacher Linda Dowdy, who has years of postcards from Brady also deserves a ROSE for originating the program. Brady says when Dowdy’s class presented him with Billy Beaver six years ago, he never thought the program would grow to include 11 classes, four stuffed animals and 240 students. Brady and his sidekicks Billy Beaver, Arthur Bear, Gus Dragon, George Primate, and a live Siamese cat named Ptolemy ride the highways sending questions about their travels to students in the second through fourth grades. Ridgemont’s principal also gives a ROSE to Billy Beaver, whose great questions on social studies have helped push the students’ scores on the yearly Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program test into a much higher bracket.

Hell hath no fury like a woman trucker scorned. ROSES to trucker Wanda Swiney for her Letter to the Editor of the Daytona News Journal. In response to the newspaper’s article on July 15 and 16 entitled “Killer Trucks,” Wanda fired off a scathing shot to those who would like to have trucks off U.S. roads. Here’s just a taste of her ire. “You will get no mail, no gas, no groceries, no medical supplies, no garbage pick up, no restaurant deliveries, no department store deliveries and the list goes on. Without gas you won’t have to go to work. With no money you won’t be tempted to go out to eat or go shopping. With no groceries, there won’t be garbage to put out. Without mail you won’t have to worry about getting bills that you won’t have the money to pay. If you get sick because you can’t get your prescriptions, the ambulance just might have enough gas to come get you. This may sound farfetched, but keep on complaining about the people you depend on and it could become a reality.”

And Hell ain’t never seen no fury like a woman trucker asked to get naked for a pre-employment drug screen. When professional trucker Majyk Stella went into the Seawind Medical Clinic in Panama City Beach, FL, for her pre-employment drug screening, she did not anticipate being asked to strip and change into a hospital gown. She refused to remove her clothes and requested a copy of the clinic’s policy. The clinic worker refused to give her a copy of the policy and refused to conduct the drug testing unless Majyk removed her clothes as instructed. Majyk said no way and left.

A technician there recalled the incident because Majyk caused quite a commotion over the outrageous request. The technician told Land Line the clinic’s doctor is a medical review officer and must implement such procedures to guarantee the urine specimen is not tainted. She explained the clinic does not, however, require drivers undergoing DOT drug testing to disrobe, and that “the nurse was just mistaken.” Well, RAZZBERRIES to the Seawind clinic for failing to know that DOT regulations about disrobing for urine specimen collection are the same as the Department of Health and Human Services’ mandatory guidelines. These guidelines say the collector may only ask the donor to remove “any unnecessary outer clothing,” such as coat, jacket, hat, etc., but not other articles of clothing, such as shirts, pants, dresses or undergarments. ROSES to Majyk Stella for standing up for her right not to strip for a drug test.

A 74-year old man was rescued last July after spending a night honking and yelling for help. William Frazier lost control of his car and gyrated off a New Hampshire highway, crashing into a tree. Police suspect he went nightie-night at the wheel. A ROSE to the unknown trucker who spotted the wreckage and called for help.

Fleet Body Works in Memphis knows how to impress new truckin’ customers. On Aug. 17, OOIDA member Phil McIntyre went to Fleet Body Works and asked them to adjust the driver side door on a truck he had just purchased. “The door was not shutting like it should,” he said. “These folks worked over an hour to solve the problem.” After the job was complete Phil was told that he owed them nothing. Phil says this was his first visit to Fleet Body Works. It likely won’t be his last. He sends Ken and his staff a ROSE.

“Dear Abby” is still telling it like it is. In the June 16 syndicated column “Dear Abby” a letter was featured recounting an incident where truckdrivers had “watched over” a woman and her two children driving alone. “Abby” penned a reply that called professional truckdrivers a special breed and saluted them. ROSES, Abby, for framing truckers in a positive light.