Deb LaBree was surprised on NBC’s “Today” show by host Megyn Kelly presenting her with a check for $10,000 from Shell Rotella in honor of Truck Driver Appreciation Week. (Courtesy the "Today" show)
Deb LaBree thought the trip to New York City to appear on "Megyn Kelly Today" was more than enough of a thank you for National Truck Driver Appreciation Week.
But then she received a check for $10,000 from Shell Rotella as a thanks for her work as mentor to other women in the trucking industry.
“Talk about a shocker,” LaBree said in a phone interview with Land Line. “I’m so glad I was already sitting down.”
LaBree got to fly to New York City and stay at a hotel prior to taping the show on Sept. 12.
“They’ve already treated me like a queen,” she said. “They brought me to New York City. It had been a fantastic experience.”
“I want the biggest, in-capital-letters ‘thank you’ to Shell Rotella and Megyn Kelly because they gave me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she said. “I’m still on Cloud 9… I’m truly thankful and truly blessed.”
LaBree and her husband, Del, are independent owner-operators leased to Landstar. They run specialized freight. Deb has been trucking for 12 years, with more than 1.2 million accident-free miles. She is also a member of the Women In Trucking U.S. Image Team.
LaBree transitioned to trucking from a career as a cosmetologist. Now she mentors other women who are working in trucking or who are thinking about switching to a career in the cab.
“Many (of them) were often like I was. I’d look up at the trucks and think – that’d be so cool to drive those things,” she said. “But it’s not generally something parents say, ‘hey would you like to be a truck driver’ when you’re a little girl.”
Many of those mentoring relationships started via online groups, usually when one member Selectposts about a problem or a question she is having.
“Sometimes the questions people are asking – they’re trying to find a way to make it work and they just can’t figure it out. Then I’ll generally reach out,” she said. “Sometimes it’s a question you can answer very simply. Sometimes they just need that extra help.”
Deb says private messages can sometimes lead into phone calls, and from there “if you’re really lucky, you bump into them somewhere in a fuel line or at a customer or at a truck show, and that’s where friendships are born.”
“I’ve gotten way more back,” she said. “Wonderful friendships that I treasure.”
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