I’d Never Left My Truck Before
Earlier this year, Gary W., a Roehl Transport refrigerated truck driver, experienced a medical emergency in Illinois, a long way from his home in Wisconsin. In Gary’s 15 years with Roehl, this was the first time anything like this had happened to him.
What happened next, according to Gary, is exactly what he expected from his trucking company.
John M., a Roehl Fleet Manager who had worked with Gary before, called him. “John said, ‘Stop driving. I care about you. I want you to get help. If I have to come pick you up, I will,” Gary shared. “He helped save my life.”
John provided the info Gary needed to get to the hospital, where he spent the next eight days.
Gary’s Fleet Manager, Jesse W. commented on the situation saying, “It was a drop everything and take care of our teammate.”
John agreed, saying “It was a team effort.”
Gary's truck, along with “everything he owned” and his load sat at a truck stop while he was at the hospital.
“If we’re a team, it doesn’t matter if the driver has been with Roehl a week or 15 years like me, you ‘Do the Right Thing’,” said Gary, citing one of the company’s values.
Gary needed to get from Illinois to Central Wisconsin, and he wanted to have his truck with him. And, that’s where Karen B., a fellow refrigerated driver and Roehl teammate, came to help.
Karen was at Roehl’s terminal in Northwest Indiana, a few hundred miles away. So Roehl’s operations team arranged for her to get a rental car so she could pick Gary up from the hospital, help him get his prescriptions filled, and then drive him and his truck back home to Central Wisconsin.
“I first met Karen in Ohio, at a bakery, so I knew her. She’d been at Roehl about eight years,” Gary said.
“What Karen did was above and beyond,” Gary explained. And despite his medical situation, Gary was worried about making sure his load was delivered to the customer. “Trucking’s not a job – it’s a lifestyle. I’d never left my truck like that before. In 15 years – every season – even once when my truck was being worked on during the winter – I’ve slept in my truck. My name’s not on the door, but it’s my truck.”
Gary’s work ethic exemplifies another of Roehl’s values - Driver Driven. Drivers like Gary lead the way and everyone in the company who supports him help create Driver Success. “I’m old school,” noted Gary. “I take the load from point A to point B, and if you imagine a wheel, drivers are at the center of the wheel. But it takes everyone else around supporting us.”
“I like to say that Roehl’s a ‘little big company.’ The instructor (Jason) who taught me how to drive is now in charge of our Get Your CDL training program, and I still learn from him. My old fleet manager, Rich, just called me to see how I was doing. It was really cool.”
Gary’s had a long recovery, and he’s optimistic. “More than one doctor has told me ‘I’m lucky.’ This is my second chance.”
“Roehl’s got a lot of home daily driving jobs now, and it’s my goal to come back and keep driving,” Gary shared. “But I might be an instructor or a fleet manager myself,” he added.
In relaying his experience, Gary noted that this is a great story, but “talk is cheap” – it’s the actions taken by the people – his teammates – that matter. “And this was the right thing to do,” he concluded.
Roehl Transport is one of the safest and most successful trucking companies in North America because we’re built on values. From Doing the Right Thing to Driver Driven to our cornerstone value of Safety, on TeamRoehl, we live our values.
Gary W. with the stuffed animal Jesse, his fleet manager, sent him.