Good Samaritans step up to help truckers in extreme weather

| 2/2/2011

Truckers faced hazardous weather conditions across a 2,000-mile swath from Maine to the Rocky Mountains on Monday, Feb. 1.

A day later, some of those same truck drivers say they are humbled by the kindness they were shown during the blizzard conditions that eventually forced them to park and wait it out.

Land Line Now listener Jeffrey Linkenhoker of Thurman, IA, said he is grateful by the welcome he received at the Walmart at Lamar, MO, late Monday night.

He told Land Line on Tuesday, Feb. 2, that the group of truckers he was running with had originally planned on stopping at Joplin, but made the decision to drive on after discovering that the truck stops and ramps were full there.

Eventually, Linkenhoker said the truckers came to the same conclusion that driving conditions were continuing to worsen and they decided to stop at Lamar.

?It was nearly whiteout conditions and visibility was dropping ? the roads weren?t the greatest so about five of us truckers decided to get off the road about 7:30 p.m. in Lamar,? Linkenhoker said.

He said he doesn?t typically park at Walmart because he feels that it?s not a truck stop and prefers parking at a rest area, truck stop or at his shipper or receiver if possible. But, the worsening weather conditions dictated his and other drivers? decisions to pull off.

?The skeleton crew that was working at Walmart, probably four or five people, bent over backward to help us and they deserve the recognition for it,? Linkenhoker said.

He said that in all, probably 94 trucks were parked for the night at that location during the blizzard conditions that swept through the Midwest.

Then when Linkenhoker went to fill up his coffee mug and Thermos for the road Tuesday morning, he was informed by a Walmart employee that his coffee was ?on the house.?

?I got to the register and she asked, ?Are you a truck driver?? and I said, ?Yes, ma?am,? ? Linkenhoker said. She then told him that the coffee was ?free for you guys today.?

He said in his 23-plus years in the trucking industry he has seen some ?bad apples that ruin it for the rest of us.? However, with the treatment they received at the Walmart location, Linkenhoker said every trucker he spoke to appreciated the kindness they had been shown.

He even heard over the CB the previous night a reminder from other truck drivers who were parked at the lot in Lamar.

?The message was not to mess this up for all of us and to keep the lot clean, and I did see other drivers throwing their trash into barrels this morning,? he said.

?The parking situation is bad enough out here and when you run in to a situation like this storm that has crippled a major portion of this country, it makes it even more difficult.?