Just like any child in their youth, my favorite thing to do on road trips was to pass by truck drivers and ask them to honk their horn. My knowledge of what it took to be a professional truck driver did not go beyond that, which is why it has been an amazing learning experience since joining the Jetco team in May. I finally got to ride in a truck and see what it was all about – first hand. I was excitedly nervous! What would it be like on the road? I trusted my driver Jorge, but what about everyone else on the road? Where would we be going? Who would we encounter? And, of course, will I get to hear him honk the horn?
With all the jitters aside, it was time to get ready for our day on the road, so I grabbed my pink safety vest and headed out on our journey. We were running a bit behind due to traffic Jorge had encountered on the way in, which is typical at any point in time in Houston, but that did not keep Jorge from conducting his pre-trip safety check. Making sure everything was secure and ready to go, he then helped me get into this massive truck. From far away it doesn’t seem like it would be that hard, but it is. After I climbed in, I clicked in my seatbelt, and we were off.
Billy Currington was playing in the background and we headed to our first pick up. Looking around Jorge’s truck, I was impressed! I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it was so comfortable, which make sense, since this is where he spends most of his time. The first thing I noticed was the photo of his daughter on the dashboard. Making it home safely to his family every night is the ultimate goal—and safety is the number one core value at Jetco. “I really appreciate the safety culture at Jetco. Other companies out there honestly don’t take it as seriously,” Jorge said.
We arrived at the first destination to pick up an empty container that we would transport to the Port of Houston. Jorge gathered all the paperwork to review with the warehouse team to ensure we were receiving the correct container. Once we were loaded up, Jorge performed another safety check ensuring the container was properly in place and secured, as well as added safety zip ties to provide extra support so the locks stayed in place.
“Hopefully there won’t be too much of a wait at the port,” Jorge said. “There are times when they have vessels that come into the port that take priority over empty containers.” When different supplies come into the port, all the cranes and efforts are used to unload them because they are under a time crunch. “There have been times when I’ve waited three hours for a pick up and this can happen on any given day. We have to be patient,” he said. This is why it is critical that the drivers communicate with their dispatcher to make certain our client knows about the delivery delay. This allows the driver more time to complete the delivery without feeling rushed or causing unsafe driving behavior. The goal is to always keep our drivers safe, and Jetco would never risk that.
The port team has the process of getting drivers in and out of the port down to a science, and Jorge knew his way around like the back of his hand. With the number of containers they have, on top of the maze we had to go through in order to get to the right sections for drop off and pickup, the process went smoothly. Within 40 minutes, we were back on the road and headed back to Jetco’s headquarters on Aldine Bender. On our way back, we stopped to get lunch, and that’s when it happened— he was backing into a spot and to be sure everyone outside was aware of the truck, and he honked his horn. The 5-year old girl inside of me was so excited, but I played it cool.
Riding back, I was taking in the scenery and embracing what it was like to be on the road all day. From the outside looking in, we never see what it takes to get food to our grocery stores, or medicines to our pharmacies; they are just there. These men and women are on the road day in and day out transporting our daily needs, and we don’t usually consider what would happen if they all just decided not to drive anymore.So I believe it’s important to start showing gratitude to those professional drivers who make the decision to get behind the wheel. You may be thinking: how can I show my gratitude? Sometimes, a simple thank you can go along way. But what if you don’t personally know a driver? How about being a more cautious driver yourself, especially around trucks. How many times have you driven on the highway and sped around a truck because you felt like they were moving too slow? Or didn’t let them over because you didn’t want to be stuck behind them? It’s little courtesies like these that help keep you safe as well as the drivers. And, it can show you appreciate them and the work they are doing for you and the community. Because at the end of the day, the safety of the driver and the motoring public is what’s most important.