The Thanksgiving holiday is upon us this week and for most of the country, it is spent with a day, a weekend or a meal with family, friends and loved ones. But for truck drivers, many don’t or can’t make it home. This means it’s more often than not, not a holiday tradition for them.
Believe it or not, there are several hundred thousand truck drivers that don’t make it home for most holidays. We all know that driving a truck isn’t just a Monday-Friday, 8-5 job. And everyone sees trucks on the highways, in cities, states or towns 24/7/365 days of the year. No matter what day or holiday of the year, the phrase “If trucks stop, so does America” is extremely true. This means holidays like Thanksgiving for many truck drivers are celebrated and remembered out on the road, in a truck stop, a rest area or even a shipper or receiver. Alone.
Throughout the year, holiday celebrations come and go. Some with summer cookouts and fireworks, twinkling lights, feasts of food and ones of gratitude for lives that protect and have protected our great nation. Then there are three that are so close in time, if you blink you’ll miss at least one, especially when you are a truck driver. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s seem to come only days apart. But to many of us Thanksgiving holds its own special place above them all.
So what do we truck drivers do if we are on the road keeping America moving on Thanksgiving day? Good question! But just a lil FYI, what you won’t see us do! You won’t see us eating that good turkey and herb dressing and gravy at Cracker Barrel. We don’t fit and they don’t let us park there anyway. (Just a little inside info in case someone knows the owner and can get this changed.)
Usually every year I try to run Thanksgiving and Christmas since my babies are grown. I don’t want others to miss their littles on these two special days. They are memories neither a child or parent can ever get back and the time lost will always be remembered.
First off, we definitely try to find the best turkey and dressing dinner at a restaurant that is open. It used to be so much easier because every truck stop, mom and pop diner and family restaurant had their doors wide open and had not just turkey and dressing, but all the fixings. Including my favorite, pumpkin pie! But after the last two years, it is tough to find restaurants open for a truck driver to get a Thanksgiving holiday tradition. Now let me say there are still a few restaurants scattered across the country that hold their gratitude and thankfulness tightly and remember that truck drivers are amongst the ones along with public service servants that can’t make it home and still provide a hot blessed meal.
There is another option that has been carried out for as long as I have been driving and it has become a hot topic and highlight on all social media on Thanksgiving day.
Many company terminals, churches, local organizations and even DOT prepare extra meals or snack bags and deliver them to drivers who are spending their Thanksgiving holiday in a truck stop, rest area or passing through a scale. Many families gather together and share their holiday with drivers by taking desserts or meal trays to drivers who are parked near their homes.
These acts of kindness mean more to a truck driver than you can ever imagine. Many drivers don’t even have any place to go home to, their truck is their home. Many don’t have families that are in the areas that they travel through or that they pick up or deliver during Thanksgiving. Honestly, until you understand being a truck driver it’s hard to grasp that there are many that have no one but them and their truck.
The most touching is the thousands and thousands that extend an open door to a passing driver to join their family for dinner. Even in times like today, Strangers, friends, social media friendships, co-workers and law enforcement and fire departments find a place for drivers to park and bring them in as family.
Social media does have its icky things, but there are many other wonderful stories of strangers meeting, becoming friends. Oftentimes, someone finds they have a connection with a truck driver that ends up out on the road for Thanksgiving or Christmas. There are always many open door invitations and I have yet to find one that wasn’t with deepest heartfelt kindness. I have spent Thanksgiving and Christmas in New York as well as in Joplin, Montana, La Mirada, California, Mt Airy, North Carolina and Ontario, Canada, just to name a few. This country might seem huge to many but to truck drivers and friends it’s one great big town and each state is just a suburb. And we are one big family!
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and let me explain why. I love all the summer celebrations and the bright lights and meaning of Christmas. I especially love seeing a New Year ring in because I love to see what it brings. But my most meaningful and touching holiday is Thanksgiving! It is the time that makes me realize without gratitude and thankfulness the rest of the holidays and every day would never need to exist. Thanksgiving reminds me that there are families selflessly sacrificing their truck driver from being at their dinner table so they can provide for many more than just for them. Thanksgiving is a reminder of what we as truck drivers strive for and how much reward and success there is in being the one that keeps AMERICA moving. Because without a truck driver AMERICA would stop.
Thank you professional truck drivers! Thank you for giving yourself every day and for sacrificing your holiday for my family and millions of others. You are each appreciated and remembered around every table, because everything on every table came on a truck!
Stay safe, find that turkey dinner and remember, we ALL have more to be thankful for than we can ever imagine.
God Speed ~ IB
If you have some cool adventures that you would like to share in a few words and a photo, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org