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Thank Me

By on July 1, 2008
RoadKing Mag

It’s nice to be appreciated for something you do. And I’m a big fan of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week (Aug. 24-30), which brings public attention to the difficult job truckers do.

But why don’t those involved in the logistics supply chain thank truckers on a more regular basis? A lack of appreciation can cause reduced performance and promote a poor attitude. Sincere appreciation, on the other hand, has the opposite effect.

When I got my first long-haul trucking job in the early 1970s, at Anchor Motor Freight in Baltimore, Md., I was delivering new cars throughout the Northeast. I can vividly recall making my initial delivery to a large car dealership in Pennsylvania. After unloading the two vehicles, I had the cars checked in by the service manager. He signed for them and told me to take the paperwork to the cashier, which I did. After stamping the papers, the cashier handed me 50 cents. “What’s this for?” I asked. “We tip a quarter a car,” she replied.

Granted, that isn’t much of a tip, but I was impressed that this dealership appreciated the efforts of those who delivered its vehicles. That simple act of thanks made my day. When I returned, I took extra care and caution in offloading their vehicles.

That’s the power of appreciation.

Showing gratitude doesn’t require much expense or effort. I carry with me a box of goodies — caps, pens, flashlights and other doodads that I have picked up during my visits to numerous trucking industry trade shows. I use them to show my appreciation to truckers, dispatchers, loaders and receivers, and others.

By way of example, I asked a yard jockey to lift a trailer because it was dropped too low for me to get my tractor under it. After I extended the landing gear and the jockey set the trailer down, I presented him with a trucking ball cap and a sincere “Thanks for helping me.”

The next time I came to that facility, the yard jockey recognized me. He came over and asked: “Is there anything I can help you with today?”

On another occasion, I was early for my pickup appointment time. I explained to the shipper that I would greatly appreciate being loaded as I needed to get home to handle a pressing family matter. He said he’d see what he could do. Thankfully, he got me a door and had me quickly loaded.

I sincerely thanked the guy and handed him a nice new pen. He thanked me, and noted that expediting my loading was a team effort. I got five more new pens and handed them out to everyone in that shipping office, along with a “Thanks so much.”

Around that facility I am now known as Dave the Pen. I seldom wait for my loads.

As you are appreciated during this National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, don’t forget to show your appreciation to others. Keep in mind the powerful results that can be gained through appreciation.

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