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Posts Tagged ‘Women in Trucking’

Ray LaHood, Anne Ferro, Bill Graves

Name an industry that can get away with leaving a labor force stranded across the United States days before Christmas and hardly get any mainstream media giving it any coverage?

This is the power of controlling media and the trucking industry proved it during December 2009 when Arrow trucking turned off gas cards, bounced paychecks, closed its doors, and left truck drivers stranded.

I decided against a picture of an Arrow Truck for this post but instead I chose this nifty picture of Bill Graves the CEO of the “American Trucking Association” with Ray LaHood & Anne Ferro because they obviously all know each other.

On December 22, 2009 the Christian Science Monitor reported the Arrow closing and the story made its way to Twitter shortly afterwards.  In researching the timeline for this post I noted that the editor has made a comment about the original title. It makes me wonder if someone “contacted them” and a correction to the wording was made. Speaking out about human indignities by the trucking industry seems to be monitored very carefully.

Twitter became quickly a buzz on the 22nd with that initial article. Shortly thereafter a second report via Landline eNews article called “ Nightmare before Christmas ” by Clarissa Kell-Holland was also circulating.

Remarks by the truckers on twitter quickly became heated when it became clear that the twitter tags of @RayLaHood who is the U.S. Secretary of Transportation and frequently tweeted about job creation during that week & the ATA Twitter tag @TruckingMatters remained silent on the Arrow Issue.

Ellen Voie of @WomeninTrucking tweeted an announcement that Anne Ferro of the FMCSA would speak at the “Salute to Women Behind the Wheel” but said nothing about Arrow. In a private email I was advised she was very much aware of the situation but for whatever reason did not tweet any articles. I still have those dated emails but some of the remarks are not pleasing about Ellen Voie and they were made by one of her members so I will refrain for now.

Meanwhile others like @HDTrucking tweeted “Arrow Drivers get one heck of a lump of coal for Christmas” in between “Retweeting” things for Hubby Evan Lockridge @LockridgeReport who tweeted he would be doing a show on the 23rd about the Stranded Arrow Drivers.

Individual Truckers on Twitter were tweeting:  “Hope we never see management from Arrow trucking in management jobs in any other trucking company. #Fail 9:52 PM Dec 22nd, 2009” which was just one of the popular “ReTweets” that went on for days. (This was a retweet I copy & pasted from Jami Jones @Shewhoknowstruck )

On Facebook remarks of disgust that no one knew about the drivers went like this: “…I was talking to some at church, they have no clue what just happened! Sad! Some said they would have just brought the truck home. I ask how? Most of these guys had no money. How you going to buy fuel, pay tolls, cross border without cash? Plus they lost all contact with their company!” were made on the newly created Fan Page called “Stranded Arrow Trucking Drivers-Coordinate Efforts Here” which was made by the Landline Staff on Twitter. (The title has since been changed as well as the mission)

In prior projects on twitter such as @JasonsLaw & the Virginia Rest Area Issue , there had been interference by the Landline Staff on Twitter so I would be lying if I said everyone believed that OOIDA was creating the page for anything more than a membership drive. I have included a link above from my previous post on Jason’s Law but at this time I cannot elaborate further.

That afternoon in fact a well known Canadian Trucker had some mixed signals from comments made by Jami Jones the Senior Editor of Landline and challenged her to call into Daniel Audet’sTruck Star Radio” to discuss the Fan Page.

At first she declined but when pressed to show that she truly cared to get the word out through ALL mediums, she agreed and convinced the listeners that the OOIDA Fan Page was an effort to help the stranded drivers and not a membership ploy as we had seen in the past.

I was aware that OOIDA Media had also been calling around. I was on home time, I was very sick with a high fever and my truck starter had died so I had to drive to Denton, Texas to go into the shop. I was actually parked in the mechanics bay for the night on the 22nd and was hesitant to become a fan of the page until I was convinced by Daniel Audet that Jami Jones was sincere. At about 9pm CST I became a fan of the page and forwarded it to MANY people.

Dan Little President of the “Owner Operators United@DDLittle on Twitter had already begun Tweeting & making phone calls on behalf of the Stranded Arrow Drivers.

Dan Little was in close contact through Twitter, Facebook and nightly on “Truck Star Radio” and reported that OOU members were going above the call to assist the Arrow Drivers in getting them home, fed, & get them motels.  The OOU board of Directors also offered a 1 year 100% free membership to all Arrow Drivers.

Within a hour of the Qualcomm message that was received  by the Arrow Drivers telling them that the company had folded the OOU was contacted and that information  was passed on to Bob McCarty and several other national media contacts.  According to Dan Little it was Mr. McCarty who contacted CNN who broke the story worldwide.

On the morning of December 23, 2009 I was received an early morning call from @Longhawl a trusted friend from twitter who has dispelled many misinformation campaigns by  “The Trolls of Trucking on Twitter”.

My friend “Longhawl” was deeply disturbed by the news of the Arrow closing and more so that the ATA had the nerve to sit quietly and saying nothing and doing nothing.  I agreed that the ATA was a despicable example how to represent an industry but the truth about trucking is that this is how truckers are treated and most people could care less.  Longhawl told me he was just plain tired of seeing the arrogance that the ATA displayed toward the hardworking American Trucker and he wanted to help. He asked me why no one was attacking the ATA on Twitter outright and I said that retaliation in trucking is very real so most individuals are intimidated, also much of the trucking media sources are controlled.

In fact as I recal the day the ATA came on Twitter they only followed national media contacts and the publishing partners for the major trucking periodicals are very much “connected”.

Longhawl said “Well I don’t work for the Trucking Industry and I am going to say a few things” I said “Okay, I will ReTweet what you say.” I also introduced Longhawl to Mike Rone of “RMR Consultants” who was working on cleaning up a DAC for a woman trucker named @NJKatwoman .

Mike was disturbed that no one had assisted the drivers by notifying truck stops properly, making sure the drivers who were cut off from the outside world suddenly could make their way home with their belongings for the holidays. I spent a few hours on the phone with both Mike & Longhawl that morning while I awaited the repair on my truck. During that time I saw an Arrow driver try to turn in his keys to the Service Desk and the girl had no idea what he was talking about. Then he went to the fuel desk and she had no idea either.

Mike Rone had called Dallas Radio Station KRLD to get them to cover the story and I spoke to the girl at the fuel desk and told her what was going on. While I was speaking to her another girl walked up and said that the day before an Arrow driver was able to fuel up but the card did not go through so they had to pump out the fuel. Still they did not know that the company had gone belly up nor were they aware that the drivers were stranded. How humiliating is this for a driver who is on his way home for the holidays? They had already received one bounced paycheck and via qualcomm the company told them they were unemployed without notice. A message that said in essence “See Ya wouldn’t want to be Ya”.

The OOIDA Fan Page had numerous offers to help the drivers but there was no rhyme or reason to it. There were carriers offering jobs and rides but in practice that meant nothing more than a free link ad. There were no drivers on Facebook because they were out-of- touch. When companies like Swift & Schneider came forth to offer rides home it sounded grand but in practice how would the Arrow drivers know this? Were Schneider’s drivers advised to go track them down? What if they did see an Arrow driver who was stranded and they needed to go to Florida but the Schneider truck was under a load going to Washington?  Then what? I mean it looked great on the surface but in reality there was not any sort of practical rescue operation being conducted.

Together, Longhawl & Mike Rone created a forum that went live the morning of December 24, 2009 which aimed to sort out offers for assistance from all over the internet to make it easy for the drivers once they were located but not many people ever found that forum. It was submerged before it took off but it was made to help the drivers and that was all.

We had twitter going crazy despite the lack of mainstream media attention. The ruckus of the Stranded Arrow drivers and our constant circulating of the OOIDA fan page link was everywhere you looked. Within hours if you googled “Arrow Drivers” the 2 lone articles were complimented by thousands of additional items which were actual tweets that were going into Google.

Not many people realize that what you post on Facebook it remains in Facebook but on Twitter it escapes the “Twitoshepre” and into the “World Wide Web” which makes it searchable in Google!

The chatter could not be ignored, this was not just truckers on twitter who had jumped onboard, and the news of the Stranded Arrow Drivers was being circulated by concerned citizens from around the world on Twitter who were OUTRAGED!!!!

On the morning of December 23, 2009 “Fleet Owner” magazine put out an article called “Social Media Comes to the aid of Stranded Arrow Truck Drivers” but here’s the thing, these are all ATA skewed publications and it was sort of a slap in the face with some feeble acknowledgement that said: “Yes, we see you are making an impact but we are still not going to do anything about it.”

I personally monitored those tweets in Google regularly and forwarded the increasing stats to interested parties. There were many familiar faces in those tweets who were not only my followers but even my DOG’s followers!

My Damn Dog was doing more for Arrow Drivers than the FMCSA, Women in Trucking or the American Trucking Association! Merry Effing Christmas Truckers!

Okay, so I’m getting a little pissed… Breathe Breathe…

The tweets were very targeted by utilizing “Hashtags”, we had seen success in several projects by doing this method for the Virginia Rest Areas, Pickens Plan and Dog Rescue.

In the future I will detail this but I did go on “Truck Star Radio” and give a tutorial to people who wanted to help.

This was an enormous success and by the 24th I had been introduced to a group of former Arrow drivers and volunteers on Twitter and Facebook who I invited to join “Truck Star Radio” as much as they wanted to tell their true story.

It was not long until reports began coming back that pledges to give help were being ignored and that the OOIDA page was not being managed properly. Still it was an amazing outpouring of people wanting to help. Still today it is inspiring to see all the people wanting to help truckers and it stands as a testament to the power of social media.

In those beginning hours there was truly more offers for help than there was drivers. That was the problem, how would a stranded driver know that they needed to get on the internet?

As I said in the recent “Blog Talk Radio” broadcast I was deeply moved when I observed former Arrow Driver Brandon White organize efforts while enroute to his new job on the greyhound bus.

I was included in a circulating email of volunteers but I did not post publically because I did not want to alert “The Trolls” about my involvement which would derail the cooperation that we thought was taking place.

I have included the radio broadcast link and I don’t want to recap everything here but basically at this time I did not know about Donna Creekmore but learned of her shortly afterwards and her list of drivers.

This list was crucial to weed out the scammers who emerged. The other disturbing thing was that people who were disgusted trying to pledge assistance on the OOIDA board. Some people were reporting they went ahead and gave to some of the designated charities but then some drivers were reporting those same charities either ran out of funds or the told the drivers that they did not meet the criteria to get assistance.

One Arrow driver called the number and was told to go to a homeless shelter!

This was a problem for me and others who felt if Donna Creekmore had verified them as drivers and there were people willing to help assist them they should be matched up, end of story.

Again, I won’t get into all the backroom shenanigans FOR NOW but I did receive the exchanges between OOIDA & the Volunteers and it was not surprising to me who the characters were but still it was disappointing that this crisis was turning into a media power struggle.

Another page on Facebook surfaced on the 24th called the “Ex-Arrow Employee’s Page” and it seemed odd that OOIDA had not been in direct contact with these folks and Donna Creekmore as soon as they appeared on the scene to collaborate.

Donna Creekmore was assisted by a woman named Dana to organize help directly to drivers. I personally called both of them to see who they were because it was true that scammers were coming out of the woodwork on the OOIDA page and it seemed like no one was managing it properly. My own followers on twitter were getting too personally involved and I did not want any of them getting ripped off.

Donna Creekmore was actually in the emergency room with her Husband when I spoke to her, she said she was concerned with getting “her drivers” home. To my knowledge no one from OOIDA had contacted her at this time nor were they aware that Dana, Donna, Brandon and other Volunteers had set up a base of operations to help the actual drivers on from the driver list and match with pledges for help from individuals.

On the Monday after Christmas however the emails were flying. Soon after, Dana set up a third page of Volunteer efforts on Facebook for the Arrow drivers.  Dana continued assisting drivers with volunteers while Donna Creekmore was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia.

It was an amazing weekend! A huge storm had hit Oklahoma & Texas and shut down I-40. Many truckers were stranded and some were attempting to help stranded Arrow drivers when the storm hit.

Despite my attempt to stay in the background I was compelled to post publically after an OOIDA member called me to dispel rumors about repo men being at truck stops. I also called Freightliner and posted on their Facebook page asking for a public announcement. I did not get a response but it sure brought the trolls out.

Private texts to me by other truckers on twitter asked for me to pass along offers of help and jobs to Donna & Dana because they too did not want to stir up the trolls.

It was already too late; in fact the King of Trolls had posted on the OOIDA page Jan 2nd to stay away from any of the “other groups” and wanted to know if anyone had a concrete list. He had been tweeting with Jami Jones who was ensuring that to him that,  “…/amazing/ isn’t the word for it. It seems like we spend as much time killing rumors as productive good some days. & we have debunked some requests from alleged Arrow drivers needing help. We didn’t just fall off the turnip truck here” but that was not the truth.

There were problems behind the scenes and Jami Jones blogged “Imagine All the People” where she implied there was social media backstabbing which was sort of crazy because all the people I knew of had been up 24/7 tweeting, donating every last nickel they had and making phone calls to help Arrow Drivers while they were in bad shape themselves.

One woman who is a big fan of @TruckinDogKarma was in the ICU tweeting from her phone and had to have it removed from her by her doctor!  She later made phone calls with a partial list and got deeply involved with the missing trucker story when the Mother of that guy poured her heart out to her.

If that were not enough to turn my stomach, on January 5, 2010 the ATA finally remarked on the Arrow driver situation. Like a synchronized swimming event Ellen Voie tweeted “Angels Among Us” which originally had comments on it that have been moderated off but I was sent the copies.

In this article Ellen states she was called by OOIDA to bring home the last Arrow drivers but according to Donna Creekmore there were many drivers who were still not home or had no home to go to.

On this same day OOIDA edited their Mission Statement and Title on the Facebook Fan Page and the ATA Twitter @TruckingMatters account tweets this dumbass remark “Thank you to all the trucking companies working from day 1 to help former Arrow drivers #SupportArrowDrivers #Win “

That was in addition to this tweet right next to it: “TweetsSchneider National encourages former Arrow drivers to apply http://www.schneiderjobs.com #SupportArrowDrivers #trucking”

OY VEY! So those are the Holy Grail of Hope to the American Trucker?  Seems to me every day is media day in trucking!

There was huge lesson to be learned in the Arrow Trucking mess and that is people do care about truckers but they are not getting the information they need to help them.

Many people came together who were formerly divided and eventually worked together.

Good can come out of what happened at Arrow in the sense that an awakening should begin to come about that ordinary people can make a difference. You can gather the rest on your own when your eyes begin to clear like mine have.

Listen to the Blog Talk Radio called “Truckers Home” with former Arrow Trucking Employee Donna Creekmore that aired May 6, 2010
Blog Talk Radio Truth About Trucking "Live"

There were so many individual people to thank it was not possible to remember everyone. If you would like to thank someone please post and let them be recognized.

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                                    The US Xpress Incident

Let your conscience be your guide

Recently I read this comment: “If you don”t respect the person, respect the position”. Here is my question :  How many times are you supposed to R-E-S-P-E-C-T a position when you realize the position is using others who they are supposed to be representing?

     We are fortunate to live in America where we are permitted to voice our opinions. We are allowed to question authority, within reason.

    Since I began writing my student trucker story I have received many emails from people thanking me for taking the time to speak out and educate newcomers about potential obstacles they were not getting from participating in other forums.

   My desire to have a job like trucking was because I am at a place in my life where I want to be alone. I don’t want to be anyones Boss, Mother, Wife, or Girlfriend. I don’t want to be in charge of anything except me and my job. I want to work, be left alone and use my free time to do things I like to do.

   This journey into the trucking industry corruption should have stopped with my student trucker story but the level of misconduct was so great, I had to continue exploring & revealing what I found.

    Honestly, I found more than I can even stomach to print publically because the conduct is so gross.  My conscience as usual obligates me. I share just enough information for those who want understand how misleading recruitment advertising is before they get themselves in too far. These “Dog and Pony” Organizations are contributors to a dangerous set of circumstances already set in motion.

     The more revelations I have shared in this tale, those who had once Cyber-Stalked & attempted to Bully, even those who made Physical threats to my person are now blogging about how they are victims.

It’s funny how the tables turn. These same people who felt it was okay when they perceived me as a target small and weak justified their actions.  Now that same lynch mob seems to be crying “Victim” when faced with a Mouse that ROARED.

We elect people who make us promises to makes changes we hope will better our lives. We join organizations to support goals we believe in. What happens when we find those leaders are not doing the job they promised? What should we do when we find out they have lied, covered up and participated in misconduct that is egregious to the mission statement that we can no longer support them?

How many times do you catch someone in a flat out lie before you say enough!? How many promises before you go your own way?

What if those leaders are absent of ethics but the mission is so good and the level of confusion created so great that good intentions are being made fools?

It is only natural that as the topics I have unraveled are finally spoken about publically that ethical companies will want to sign on to fix the problem and no longer sweep it under the rug.

But sign up for what? With who?  Do people in Supply Chain Logistics want to be associated with Trucking Companies who have no level of conduct to prevent Rape, Violence, Harassment and Retaliation in their training?

Is sponsoring a “Feel Good” organization like “Women in Trucking” enough to slap the logo on your site and move on?

Increased Recruitment of Women into Trucking and Transportation is admirable but the longtime problem is not gone. This needs to be publically addressed, training needs to be implemented and enforced.

It is not my job to do this but unfortunately no one who is getting paid to do this job wants to take on the topic because it is unpopular.

This is a dilemma, if fitting into a primarily male dominated industry is more important than the mission statement for which your non-profit status indicates you exist. The result of compliant complacency: Rape, Violence, Retaliation. That’s sorta hard for me to walk away from. I don’t want to “fit in” if that is the trade off.

Truthfully, there are more Men who support the notion of better training and support for both Men and Women entering trucking. The problem is they are not getting the proper information so the entire mission is a lose-lose for everyone.

I was confused myself when I joined “Women in Trucking” and was stalked online. I was told quite frankly that they have seen “my kind” before and they chase “those kind” off.

“My kind” being people who think women should not be recruited into an industry where they are put in highly dangerous intimate situations to be raped or beat up. Which results in the added trauma of retaliation for reporting it to their HR Department.

There were so many conflicting messages I needed to understand to discover the truth. The primary voice on the WIT forum was never Ellen Voie but rather Sandy Long who was my main attacker.

Sandy has a good deal of trucking experience any newcomer would be fortunate to find but the professionalism was lacking.

It seemed from an outsider’s perspective that Sandy resented Ellen and she was taking it out on me. The evidence was in the posts Ellen made during that period and the responses from Sandy.

It was disheartening because Ellen’s disconnected nature to the seriousness of the issues and Sandy’s passion for trucking were both misdirected, until an issue came about with Canadian Trucking Magazine which depicted Women Truckers in a manner that most everyone agreed was in poor taste.

This was the first time I saw the small group of Women actually work effectively to make a difference in what image was being projected. It was a success for “Women in Trucking” despite the fact that the response from the magazine showed they did not “get it”.

That weekend I attended the Las Vegas Truck Show to meet with an international documentary filmmaker and this was the first time I met Ellen Voie of “Women in Trucking”.

I happen to sitting in the booth of an APU manufacturer located next to the US Xpress Recruitment Booth and noticed they not only were handing out WIT brochures but also had girls in their booth that were dressed in less than models from the Canadian Truck Magazine.

I thought it was odd that Ellen Voie who was one aisle away would not say anything being that she had just had this victory. When I went to introduce myself she right away stated she felt that the WIT member who wrote the original complaint had overreacted.

Is this my advocate? She is apologizing? She is embarrassed in some way?

The filmmaker came to me later and asked me what I thought and I said honestly, I don’t know what to make of her. She really does not seem to care about Women in Trucking to me.

The filmmaker, who had spent several days there filming truckers confided that the general consensus by Women Truckers she had filmed in Vegas was that Ellen Voie was doing nothing but promoting herself.

I was still unclear, I snapped pictures of the US Xpress booth but I said nothing to Ellen.   

I was not aware that a woman from Twitter named Kathleen Wells had taken photos of the US Xpress Booth and had sent them to Jason Cox at @TruckDriverNews who at the time was working closely with a group of activist drivers.

Jason made a post with the photos in two places, his personal blog and on the Lexington Kentucky Examiner. I felt the posts were too hasty but they did reflect what actual Truckers were saying about Ellen Voie.

I’d felt some of Jason’s remarks in his blog and other forums where he posted should have included some additional research before he posted the articles. I told Jason I could not comment on what he said. I had also had an argument with another fellow who jumped to quickly on the bandwagon about Ellen Voie’s intentions. I was not clear what was going on yet and I didn’t want to endorse frenzy. This is a very serious matter to me; it is not an ego-driven mission.

After I left Vegas I received an email from Ellen about renewing my membership. I called Donna Smith from “Ask the Trucker” to ask her if she was going to renew and she said “No, she had seen and heard enough over there”. I was still optimistic and in order to post on the forum I had to remain a member. I also knew at some point Ellen would show who she was committed to, Women or Sponsors.

I had just received a copy of Logistics Quarterly that had an article by Ellen Voie on the very topic of Convention Exhibit Booths using females to recruit dressed in the manner as I had just seen in Las Vegas.  I decided to call her cell and take the opportunity to ask her point blank about CRST being her sponsor and why she was not confident enough to pull her brochures from the US Xpress Booth just days after she pulled her articles from the Canadian Truck Magazine for basically the same thing.

First she told me that there was more than one division to CRST. So I asked her which division was her sponsor. She seemed confused and as it turned out it was the division named in the sexual harassment lawsuit.

I then asked her if she saw the US Xpress booth and she said yes and they were also her sponsor. I did not know this. I said why not just say, “Hey, I’m really not wanting my brochures here because this marketing message is not what we want to portray under the current circumstances”.

She admitted she had board members who felt she should be more aggressive with US Xpress about their marketing package but she said she even went to have beers with the marketing director and he said that this is what works for them and they had no plans to change it.

Ellen Voie went on to say that she just had to do it her own way despite the admission that she was feeling pressure from her own board. I told her I didn’t think a marketing director would take her too seriously if she was out for beers with him and asking him to not use women in hot pants to recruit. I told her she probably had more power than she realizes but she has to use it or be used. Ellen stated again she just had to do things her way, I said “Well, I will do things my way and see what we can do.”

After that conversation I called Jason Cox and sent him the photo I had taken to add to the one Kathleen Wells had already sent of the “Camo Girls” which Jason mislabeled as “Cameo Girls” (another story) and the article was circulated on Twitter. The article was called: “Women in Trucking are Truck Drivers Too

Jason had told me that Ellen had subscribed to his blog after he had written his first post about her. He had received an email from a Canadian Job Recruiter in response to that post which was meant to defend her. Jason didn’t know what to make of it but it made sense later because I was suspecting she benefited from her recruitment strategies not from making changes to existing conditions. A job placement agency would perceive Ellen Voie very differently than actual Women Truckers experiencing a trauma. He also had a comment from a man but it was obvious to us it was not really a man. The IP address was from Kansas City Missouri. We both concluded who that was, one of my Cyber-Bullies from WIT.

Of the two articles written by Jason Cox about the US Xpress Booth the comments on his blog drew some interesting debate on the topic and he had a couple hundred hits to the post in a short time. The final message being, the spokes models did less recruiting and more entertaining of the marketing guys. The Female US Xpress representative looked uncomfortable and embarrassed to have to sit in the booth appearing like a 5th wheel on a double date.

US Xpress from my understanding has Sexual Harassment Training and I had spoken to a driver/former trainer who told me quite a bit about their policies. He was surprised really that his company was represented this way in a convention.

As it turned out, so was the upper management at US Xpress who received the Article that Jason Cox wrote using the photographs from Kathleen Wells.

I learned that Ellen Voie utilized the article from the Lexington Examiner by Jason Cox without the comments from Kathleen Wells but with her photographs a few days later on the WIT forum. This post like many others since I have been exposing this story has now been removed. In it she stated she forwarded the article to the US Xpress brass and they responded that it would not happen again. WOW! How easy was that? Right On… Right?

Seeing is believing though: In August 2009 at the Dallas Truck Show the US Xpress booth had Women in Khakis and Polo Shirts with a Wheel of Fortune game as a recruiting tool for giveaways. They had a line of people of all shapes sizes and genders at that booth.

What a testament! They were made aware, they adapted and they found success. Simple Courage to take action was all that was needed.

The Dallas Truck Show was also where the Dan Rather Producers met me for the first time and Beverly Petersen from the yet to be released “Bully in the Workplace” Documentary who interviewed me and Ellen Voie. WATCH ELLEN VOIE REMARKS HERE

Ellen was also filmed by the Dan Rather Producers but she did not know they knew about me.

We had our plates full in Dallas because the recently snubbed Widow Hope Rivenburg who arrived with 5 month old twins and a 2 year old in tow were also in Dallas to promote Jason’s Law – The Safe Trucker Parking Bill with very little help from the Big Guns of the trucking industry.

In fact, she was actually told NOT to come to Dallas by “leaders” in the industry meant to silence her passion to see that the truck parking shortage should be addressed so no other family would have to endure the senseless murder as she and her children have to live with.

The efforts to recreate a single female trucker with a dog was also apparent as I mention in my @TruckinDogKarma post by the trucking Industry prior to the Dallas convention.

This is why “Karma” was crowned the “iPhone Trucker App Mascot”, not for money, not for fame … only because all sides of the industry were trying to recreate me in media and make an more complacent, accommodating @TruckerDesiree. The reason is that each layer I have explored has exposed a good deal of unethical behavior and I have been opening a can of worms for a lot of people in trucking.

Anyone who has been following me on Twitter knows I have a little marketing magic up my sleeve which squashed those attempts.  The next strategy was to attack my credibility and/or take credit for whatever I was able to achieve from my “Bleating” as @DiamondsMama40 refers to it. (Gloria Torbich My first online stalker from WIT aka “Greenpete”)

By the time of the Dallas Truck Show, I had a falling out with Jason Cox who from what I understand received some “persuasion”.

The once #1 advocate & Champion for “Jason’s Law” was now against it. Shortly thereafter he emerged promoting a membership to an organization he could not afford, for an industry he cannot participate in any longer and was now a “Women in Trucking” Supporter. Add that up yourself.

I had been invited to the “Women in Trucking” hospitality room but I didn’t want to attend unless we could crash with Hope Rivenburg and press Ellen Voie on why she did not support safe trucker parking or this young Widow when she herself was once a trucker’s wife.

The events were so tightly scheduled that Donna Smith and I opted to go to the Midnight Trucking offerings instead but ran into Ellen Voie in the hallway who had a small group of people with her.

She seemed nervous to see me and was quick to say her hospitality room shindig was already over, I had no intentions of going but for some reason she said wanted to let me know that info. Then she became very excited and said “Desiree, did you see the US Xpress Booth?” I replied “Yes, I did” then Ellen threw up her arms and said before her hallway audience “That’s another Success for Women in Trucking”. The same incident and company’s actions that she defended were now HER victory for their change of “recruiting tactics!

I was stunned and looked at Donna Smith of “Ask the Trucker” Our collective thoughts were “No She Didn’t!” but the eyes of the bystanders where what really got me. These were people who truly believe Ellen Voie is an advocate for change in the trucking industry. These are people who want to believe they have signed up for a courageous leader and she flat out lied.

This is the Trucking Woman’s Advocate? Having beers with “the boys” and agreeing with their scantily dressed women recruiting tactics in Las Vegas! Using her convention time to solicit reality shows rather than discuss better training, violence awareness and other compliance tools available NOW to help Women entering Trucking become successful? I paid a membership for this?

Not only that, she disappeared very quickly after she said it and it wasn’t until the next day I learned the Dan Rather Producers were in the Hospitality room filming her speech.

Ellen Voie was eager to be filmed by Beverly Petersen for the “Bully in the Workplace” Documentary; I was there when she accepted without missing a beat. I think she felt very confident about her statements at the time not knowing Dan Rather knew about me.

Ellen Voie has a gift to repackage something and claim it as her success but the integrity is missing. The performance I saw her give in the hallway that night for those sponsors and finding out that the “Jason’s Law” brochures we asked her display were put under her table were as much about her personal character as I ever wanted to know.

  I never posted on the WIT site again. I was truly disgusted that this person was the representative for members and sponsors who truly believe she gives a damn. I am unclear if there are WIT board members who have a true vision to enforce change or if the entire organization has been created simply to cover up and ease the impact AFTER the EEOC makes charges on trucking companies.

Unfortunately unethical behavior in the corporate world is acceptable, that is why I choose to drive a truck despite my many talents beyond driving.

Street smarts only gets you so far in trucking, you have to know a little corporate Genghis Khan action also, that’s what I‘ve learned about the trucking industry. “Industry” is a KEYWORD, that is a big difference from “Driver”.

The precursor to “Women in Trucking” appears to be “The National and International Women’s Trucking Association, or WTA” and their Mission seems to address the issue for Women Truckers facing Violence.

The named President: Sandy Long with the following Mission:

     “We are the first National & International Women’s Trucking Association dedicated to the betterment of Women in the Trucking Industry in North America.

The WTA was formed to provide women truck drivers a safe and secure site in order that they can find knowledge to help them become professional drivers, instill in them the professionalism needed to promote the positive aspects of the industry and to give them aid as they need it to combat sexual harassment and/or problems inherent to their jobs and personal lives.

Furthermore, we will promote the trucking industry
by providing accurate data, statistics, and
information to the industry and the general public in
regards to women in the trucking industry by internet, personal contact, appearances at seminars, and in contacting industry and governmental leaders.”

So what happened?

This organization never seemed to take off . Did someone come in and encourage complacency to get these ladies to quiet down? Is “Women in Trucking” just a “Feel Good” Organization to ease the blow after the fact? Is this a cover up organization?

Now that Anne Ferro is in office at the FMCSA and Ellen Voie got a “Hook Up” can “Women in Trucking” members trust their spokeswoman to speak up? Is this just a Photo Op? A chance to give away free T-Shirts, take a picture for the Guinness World Record Books at the Salute to Women behind the Wheel” for the Mid-America Trucking Show?

This is a very serious matter when someone who you elect to represent you is not addressing the major concern which is Rape, Violence & Retaliation UNTIL I made it a potential marketing opportunity. There are no guarantees that any “Best Practices” being phished out will be enforced.  Even greater issue is when pressed on this topic Ellen Voie is uncomfortable, uninformed and dismissive just as she was with the “Trucker Buddy” Pedophile incident. She is not equipped nor does she want to be for these matters, but that will not make them go away.

Ellen Voie revoked my membership when she learned I would be on the Dan Rather Report investigative series. The very revealing Bully in the Workplace Video truly exposes the truth about what Ellen Voie believes which is that there really isn’t that much of a problem.

A woman who is this uncomfortable with the truth should not be an advocate. There is no reason women truckers should be buying memberships to be represented in this manner. Support and Enforcement should not vary depending on marketability unless you have ZERO Conscience.

I keep hoping a true leader will emerge who has the balls for this mission. I do not wish to spend my every waking moment providing a conscience for people who don’t seem to have one. I will continue to expose this outside of the trucking industry to human rights groups, logistics and supply chain professionals until I find true leaders who care to make a difference.

Too many people are being intentionally misled.

A number of  Women are coming forward to write their stories and make you tube accounts of their experiences.

This will be continued ….

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                                           Support from Women in Trucking

 

Ellen Voie of Women in Trucking Revokes My Membership

As I mentioned before I had been in a brouhaha for months while I was a Member of “Women in Trucking“. ( that link will direct you my my other “out of  line” posts on WIT)  As many may have read in “The Trucker” my membership was revoked by Ellen Voie. The letter to the right was dated October 20, 2009 and reads as follows: “Enclosed please find a check in the amount of $25. This is a refund of your membership dues. Our Organization is dependent upon our members who support our mission so your membership privileges have been revoked due to you actions that contradict our goals. Sincerely, Ellen Voie President/CEO Women in Trucking, Inc.”

I was a member for about a year and a half and in that time I was privileged only to be bereated on a regular basis with Ellen’s seeming approval. Although privately she admitted she had to often moderate Sandy Long aka “Lady Godiva” (read link)  for her conduct on WIT , she did not seem to want to be involved with any of the actual Women Truckers.

It seemed like anyone who joined was promptly made to feel unwelcome and then disappeared from the forum. On most forums there is always that one person who has to put their two cents into every single comment, ussually adding some snarky remark, but based on the Mission Statement I kept expecting Ellen Voie to pop in and sort of take control of what was going on. That did not happen.

In my thread ‘My New Experience Might Help You” which has now been deleted from WIT but had over 3000 reads , some poorly planned remarks about the Dan Rather Report and the US Express Incident which I will write about shortly, I came to see that there was a pattern, perhaps even an intent to chase women away from WIT who asked real questions about violence during the training period.
In addition to entire threads being removed I had also noticed that individual posts were disappearing but the number of posts made was staying the same. That indicated someone was removing items, things were being moderated away but it was leaving a trail. Another item was that when a topic such as harassment toward Women was mentioned there was a flurry of new posts made immediately afterwards which pushed the harassment posts down and out of sight.

Because I had been labeled a troublemaker by the HR Lady at my company and been called a “Radical Feminist” at WIT, I decided to conduct an experiment of sorts by reviving these “Forbidden Topics” regularly to observe the usual suspects come unglued. It seems silly I know but this entire thing has been sort of a Human Study while I was in my training and with Social Media.
When the antics on the WIT Forum had gone so completely out of control as I mentioned before, I did call Char Pingel and then emailed Ellen Voie.  I had also been listening to a driver CD from my company that kept using voice tracks of Ellen’s that seemed to be some sort of endorsement from WIT. I wanted to know why she would let her trademarked name be used when the sort of conduct that was happening to me was also happening frequently to many others. The portion of the recording that bothered me was that the industry statistic of Women Truckers stood at 5%-6% BUT at Covenant Transport it was more like 15%, which meant they were actively recruiting Women with NO clear Policy to keep them safe. I was seeing it with my own eyes.

So many times I asked “Is there any Women I can team with?” There was no network in place for me to meet other Women for the team phase of my training BUT I knew Women were getting off trucks at all of our terminals for the same reasons. The question was WHY don’t they let us network and team up? I met a few Women who were at their “WITS END” (No Pun Intended but if the shoe fits). These competent Women Trucking Students just walked away, they quit because our company had pushed them too far and placed them in too many situations that affected their learning and safety.

I told Ellen that the CD seemed to “Imply” she endorsed my company and given the situation I wrote that she should be concerned that they were using her trade marked name without a clear policy to protect the Women from the unsafe “team business model”.  Ellen returned my email with this response:  “Since our interviews go on every company’s audio magazine, it’s not an endorsement at all.  Do the drivers also think that the entertainers and performers are endorsing the company?  The CD is for entertainment purposes, but the carrier specific content is to inform drivers.  I think that the exposure is beneficial for Women In Trucking. ”
 

I thought that response was a little crass and she seemed to miss the point. That being, Women are facing many Obstacles getting through their training at my company. To hear a CD provided by our management with her as the Women in Trucking Cheerleader was sort of a slap in the face.

I began posting other topics in the WIT forum like “The best CEO’s” and other items hoping she would come back down to earth and read her own Mission Statement.  I am very proud of the postings I made on WIT and I received a great deal of positive feedback by Women who sought to find me off of the forum where they would not be attacked and berated. I have copied those posts but I expect Ellen is desperate to eliminate my contributions to her forum but utilize the information for her own purposes to promote herself.

I have mixed feelings about this because I offered to help Ellen on many occasions promote HER agenda which was not Harrassment but I was clear that I would not use my gift to drive traffic to her unless she dealt aggressively with the epidemic I was watching in trucking. I would get this “We are quietly working behind the scenes” which is a “Blow Off” and really means, “Maybe if we be quiet and be nice polite girls people treat us better out of the goodness in their hearts”. Just like my HR Lady telling me that “Maybe if I got along better with my Co-Drivers…” which translated to me as:  “I should have Fucked Him so I’d have Job Security” is that the answer?  If I let my Co-Driver take advantage of my person and Human Dignity it makes me a better Truck Driver?

At that time I had also been observing Ellen on Twitter, she never followed anyone back even though people were following her. On Twitter, that shows arrogance. Twitter is interactive, it is not all about YOU, it is about sharing and exchanging and spreading the word or “Paying it Forward” so to speak. If all you do is talk about yourself and you don’t interact or show your personality, people lose interest in you. You are irrelevant.

The other thing that was odd was that what Ellen was tweeting on Twitter, she never mentioned on her WIT forum and it was very telling, especially when her only friend was the ATA @TruckingMatters  which to Truck Drivers is not your allie. I also observed actual Women Truckers trying to communicate to Ellen through Twitter and she ignored them. At first I assumed she didn’t know how to use it and I offered to help but she ignored me. Now I know she does know how to use it and “Borrow” her inspirations.

Back on the forum, Sandy Long aka Lady Godiva who as it turns out is a lifelong OOIDA Member (supposedly the anti-ATA) seemed to dominate everyone and everything that was WIT, more so than Ellen who simply popped in once in awhile to ask for advice on topics and products. It seemed to me that what Ellen was doing was using the Forum only as her own personal marketing focus group, she would throw out a question, gather data and utilize it for her purposes to market items and write articles. It was almost like she didn’t care about any of the heated exchanges that were going on. She only cared about whatever it was she was trying to market at that particular time, but it was never clear if those items that were developed with the ideas from the women on the forum benefited WIT. Does WIT only provide salaries or is there was some sort of program to help Women overcome obstacles in the trucking industry?

As I mentioned before, my first online stalker originated from the WIT forum, under the Twitter tag of @FreightLady1966 a “Gloria Torbich”, I recognized the name right away when I received an email on my Twitter account that said “Gloria Torbich is now following you on Twitter @Freightlady1966”. I had privately emailed Gloria also when it seemed like Sandy Long was becoming overly agitated by my participation on the WIT forum. Ellen was well aware of it and read posts made by Gloria from Twitter and from two other sites.  In an email, Ellen Voie indicated she knew some people had more than one online identity and despite the fact that again her trade marked name was being used, she seemed unconcerned.
One thing I have mentioned in my story time and again is that it was actually other “Women” who were the biggest obstacles for me in becoming a truck driver. My Trainer, The Team Coordinator, The HR Lady, and Drivers like “Lily” in my story that make new Women Truckers “Guilty until proven Innocent”.  My next obstacles were the Women at “Women in Trucking” and that was because they really didn’t seem to like other Women. Ellen seemed to be more interested in promoting WIT but she was completely disinterested in helping Women in the Trucking Industry overcome existing obstacles.

I watched several new Women begin to post and right away the snarky snide comments would begin to basically run most off. These were ladies who were asking simple questions on how they can best prepare themselves to be successful as truckers.  My perception was that with returning veterans coming home soon, many would come to trucking, more Women also who had gone into combat would look to a job that gave them independence like trucking. I proposed on my very popular thread called “My NEW experience might help you” that maybe WE could lay the groundwork now to make better policies, clear strategies to help these young ladies have a smooth transition if they did so choose the Trucking Industry. Especially NOW while the economy was crumbling it was the perfect time to effect change.
What I got was a TIRADE that goes as follows:  (Note:  What I wrote was taken apart and is in normal print, I have bolded the response to see how Sandy Long reacts to my post)
Subject: Women In Trucking: Reply posted to topic: My new experience in trucking might help you.
New message has been posted to forum Advice to New Truck Drivers, topic: My new experience in trucking might help you. by Lady Godiva on 11/28/2008 at 12:04 PM
.
Message: Desiree…I am sorry, I have to disagree with some of what you said…respectfully of course…my comments will be in caps…I am not shouting tho.
Quote: Actually, the current economical crisis has presented us a golden opportunity to seize control as companies are going to be in reorganization.
SIEZE CONTROL??? THIS DOESN’T SOUND TOO GOOD DOES IT…AND HOW ARE YOU GOING TO SIEZE CONTROL OF ANY SITUATION IN A COMPANY REORGANIZATION? ARE WOMEN GOING TO WORK CHEAPER THAN THE MEN? ARE WOMEN BETTER DRIVERS THAN MEN OVERALL? DO YOU THINK THAT A COMPANY SHOULD ONLY LAY OFF THE MALE DRIVERS AND OFFICE PERSONNEL?

(** note that nowhere have I mentioned Women taking Mens Jobs from them or anything of the sort that implies Women are better than Men)

Women are growing in this industry at a significant pace. It is to the benefit of the company to recruit them and therefore it is up to us to demand now we expect to not be isolated purposely to intimidate us, badgered for sex by our teammate/trainers, purposely mis-informed by other females who have a personal axe to grind, humiliated, violated or physically abused.
THE PERCENTAGE OF WOMEN AS DRIVERS IN THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY HAS REMAINED FAIRLY STAGNENT FOR THE LAST 20 YEARS RUNNING BETWEEN 5-7%, THERE HAS BEEN AN INCREASE IN WOMEN IN EXECUTIVE AND SUPERVISORY POSITIONS IN COMPANIES THOUGH DUE TO MORE WOMEN GETTING DEGREES IN AREAS CONCERNING TRANSPORTATION AND WORKING THEIR WAY UP THE CORPORATE LADDER. AGAIN, WHY IS IT BENEFITIAL FOR A COMPANY TO HIRE WOMEN OVER MALES?
IT IS NOT RIGHT THAT ANYONE BE HARASSED OR INTIMIDATED (THOUGH PERSONALLY I THINK THAT IF SOMEONE IS INTIMIDATED THAT IT IS MORE OF A PERSONAL PROBLEM), BUT HOW ARE YOU GOING TO DEMAND THAT NOT HAPPEN? SHOULD COMPANIES PUT VIDEO CAMERAS AND VOICE RECORDERS IN THE CAB OF THE TRUCKS? HOW ABOUT INSTEAD OF DEMANDING, WE WORK WITH OUR BROTHER DRIVERS TO EDUCATE THEM ABOUT HOW TO INTERACT WITH US AND WORK WITH THEM TO GET BETTER TRAINING/TRAINER REGULATIONS PUT IN PLACE.
I HAVE NEVER MET A FEMALE DRIVER THAT MISINFORMS ANYONE ON PURPOSE…THO THEY MAY DO SO DUE TO LACK OF THEIR OWN KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE.
INTIMIDATION AND HUMILIATION ACT ON INDIVIDUALS IN DIFFERENT WAYS, HOW IS THIS REGULATED? WHILE I MAY FEEL A LITTLE HUMILIATED BECAUSE I CANNOT BACK INTO A SPOT, IT IS BECAUSE OF MY PERSONAL FEELINGS, NOT BECAUSE OF WHAT SOMEONE HAS DONE TO ME. I WOULD ASSUME THAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT HOW A TRAINER MIGHT HUMILIATE SOMEONE OR INTIMIDATE THEM…OR HOW A DISPATCHER MIGHT INTIMIDATE SOMEONE INTO DOING SOMETHING UNSAFE OR ILLEGAL. THESE THINGS HAPPEN TO OUR BROTHER DRIVERS ALSO BY THE SAME PEOPLE…IT IS NOT ONLY A FEMALE THING.
OF COURSE I TOTALLY AGREE THAT NO ONE SHOULD BE ABUSED AND/OR VIOLATED. BUT, THERE AGAIN THAT IS A LOT OF THE TIME IN ONES PERSPECTIVE OF WHAT IS GOING ON. i THINK THAT ANY TRAINER OR PERSON IN A SUPERVISORY CAPACITY THAT FORCES ANYONE TO HAVE SEX WITH THEM SHOULD BE PROSECUTED TO THE FULLEST EXTENT OF THE LAW…BUT THEN AGAIN, I THINK THAT ANYONE THAT ALLOWS THEMSELVES TO BE FORCED INTO HAVING SEX TO KEEP A JOB OR TO ADVANCE OUGHT TO HAVE ENFORCED COUNCELLING TOO…WE DO HAVE CHOICES TO MAKE IN LIFE AND OPTIONS.

Students and CDL mills may not be able to pour into industry for a period because loans for school are harder to get. Less students, less government subsidies and tax credits makes companies look to their current structure to turn a profit.
THOUGH I AGREE THAT THERE WILL BE FEWER LOANS PERHAPS FOR STUDENTS TO ENTER THE INDUSTRY, I DO NOT THINK THAT THIS WILL BE THE CASE FOR VERY LONG AND THOUGH SOME OF THE TRAINING COMPANIES HAVE PUT A FREEZE ON HIRING ANY DRIVERS, THERE ARE STILL SOME THAT WILL HIRE A STUDENT OVER AN EXPERIENCED DRIVER DUE TO COST OF WAGE DIFFERENCIAL. HOW DOES THIS BENEFIT WOMEN DRIVERS? AS I SAID ABOVE, DO WOMEN DRIVERS WORK CHEAPER OR DO A BETTER JOB THAN MALES?

We can do that by reaching out and communicating and networking with companies WHO WANT to benefit from the growing demographic of QUALIFIED women.
I THINK THAT COMPANIES SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED TO BECOME FEMALE FRIENDLY AND GIVE WOMEN A CHANCE TO WORK FOR THEM AND ADVANCE SAME AS THE MALES. I THINK THAT FACILITIES SHOULD BE PROVIDED FOR THE FEMALES IN TERMINALS AND WAREHOUSES. I IN NO WAY THINK THAT IT IS OF GREATER BENEFIT FOR A COMPANY TO HIRE A QUALIFIED WOMAN THAN A QUALIFIED MALE, I PERSONALLY DO NOT THINK THAT GENDER SHOULD ENTER INTO HIRING DECISIONS IN ANY WAY…THAT MY SISTERS IS EQUALITY AND WHAT MYSELF AND MY SISTER OLD HAND LADY DRIVERS HAVE FOUGHT SO HARD FOR.
The only stupid question is the one you do not ask…
  (this is the real tagline, I kid you not)

WOW!  Talk about communication breakdown, the first thing I thought when I saw this was how do you conclude that I’m proposing that Women are out to take all the Men’s jobs by asking for clear polices? One of the problems I have seen is that nothing is defined. You have people from a variety of backgrounds and education levels with very little support or guidance whose lives are being managed by a 20 something who is not trained to understand or recognize that a “Situation” is occurring and action must be taken NOW!

This sort of conduct went on for months on the WIT forum until I went for broke and tried to introduce a girl I had come in contact with who was allegedly raped by another driver. WOO HOO, FIREWORKS!!! Even Ellen posted that time, that was the day she made posting rules that no company names could be mentioned. When I met her in Las Vegas she said, “We can’t say company names, they might be our Sponsors” … My thought? “UH-Okay….Certainly don’t want to mention Rape when money is involved.”  That comment was not an isolated either, Ellen did not seem to really understand what she was implying with that remark and it she repeated it to me on other occasions.

This is bringing me up to the “U.S. Express Incident”, which will be my next post. These are very importent items to understand how it is that my participation in the Dan Rather Report has inspired Ellen Voie to suddenly have a new priority. that’s right…. She’s got her “EYE” on Harassment.

Interestingly she felt a female member “Overreacted” to a Canadian Trucking Magazine Incident and did not see the validity of the U.S. Express Booth in Vegas passing out her brochures until photos appeared with an article more provocative than the attire.

To have your “EYE” on Harassment, you must understand it and Ellen Voie does not seem to understand that working around lots of Men in a management capacity brings lots of flattery. Perhaps even a false sense of the real world for Women who may be hyper-sensitive from traumas they have endured in the past.

To say a Women Trucker “overreacted” when you do not know about her 20 year history in trucking, or have ever bothered to inquire why she may have reacted so strongly is in poor form. This is not a polite topic, it’s not for the weak at heart. But the time is NOW to FIX it and it ain’t gonna be pretty.

The upcoming Solutions Show on “Ask the Trucker” with myself, Tom Hansen and Tracey Hamm formerly of CRST are meant to help Solve the Issues with people who truly care to make a BETTER Trucking Industry by raising the Standards. This will help all Drivers overcome obstacles.

Make sure you check out the Co-Driver Nightmare Video and Comments from @NJKatwoman I have posted on this site to get and Idea of how complex these issues are. This is not something that should be thrown together.

We need to see that perhaps some organizations are not really in it for the GOOD of others, and this is a very serious issue.

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****** December 13 2009 ******* This Video was removed from You Tube along with the other one mentioned here called “Thank You Trucker Desiree” by Christy, whose Twitter tag is @NJKatwoman  

She was contacted by Ellen Voie after the “Thank You Trucker Desiree” You Tube appeared and has receieved a “Women in Trucking” membership.

Christy sent me this file to repost because it has been a very useful tool which has brought others forwatd to speak up on various matters that have long been overlooked with regards to safety.

Mike Rone of @RMRConsultants is actually the person who has been working with Christy to correct some items on her DAC that should not be there. Mike & Linda Rone on Twitter are part of a growing group of concientious people in the Trucking Industry who actually care about other people. They reached out to Christy to begin the process to get her DAC fixed. Although their primary focus is D.O.T. Compliance for Companies they have been very kind to help out. You can learn more about them HERE

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                               Dan Rather Report Part 2 “Truck Talk”

 

Dan Rather "Truck Talk" Follow Up Segment

The Dan Rather Report Part 2 “Truck Talk” is now “In the Can” as they say in Show Biz!Here is the Free Link where you can watch it online:

     Dan Rather Report Part 2 “Truck Talk

The Showdown was held at “Willie’s Place” for Part 2 “Truck Talk” , the Dan Rather investigative report into trucking. It was not near as much fun as I thought it would be but still I was glad to attend. It was purely coincidence that I had scheduled my home time to go to NASCAR.

After all, I’ve been out on the road since August when I came to Texas for the “Great American Truck Show” where I met up with Hope Rivenburg, the young Widow of slain trucker Jason Rivenburg who had 5 month twins and a 2 year old in tow to promote the federal bill for Safe Trucker Parking called “Jason’s Law”.

That was a busy week where not only was I helping at the GATS Show, I was being interviewed by more than one production. One of which called Bully in the Workplace  had to be coordinated with the Dan Rather Producers to facilitate the time schedule. This production is yet to air but Ellen Voie President of “Women in Trucking” does appear and you can see a Sneak Peak here.

Initially, I believe the Dan Rather Group might have ended up at the ATA sponsored truck show that was scheduled that same weekend in Pennsylvania but I suggested that GATS might give them a better opportunity to see a greater variety of folks involved in trucking. You see, the ATA, OOIDA and “Women in Trucking” all knew Dan Rather was doing a piece on Trucking for a good deal of time. I believe all were very excited at the prospect of meeting the Mr. Rather and having the chance to express what was important in the trucking industry from their organizations perspective.

In the beginning, I believe the content of the show topics filmed may have been so vast that a more narrow focus had to be made. In many of my post interviews after and in between filming I was also providing other links, contacts and information to the producers for both of these reports. This includes directing them to Mr. Tom Hansen who appeared in Part 1 “Queen of the Road” who posted here on this site to Tracy Hamm of the CRST Sex Harrassment Case. Also, a former Million Mile Driver from my company who was terminated in a snowstorm and others. I also sent them links to post show comments from various forums including negative comments from my First Trainers “Friend” here on this site and other sites where the vast majority was positive and in agreement. There were a few critics but those were mostly my familiar online stalkers.

 I also provided links to “Women in Trucking” regarding both Dan Rather Broadcasts but they have since been deleted. I was also alerted that posts by members of another WIT member forum were not moderated to prevent information about the Dan Rather Report getting out in that arena in an attempt to keep this story under wraps.

Since the first broadcast, I received a letter from Ellen Voie revoking my membership to “Women in Trucking” stating that I do not Support their Mission, which is to help Women overcome obstacles they face in the Trucking Industry. The single most popular thread on the WIT site I started with over 3000 reads was deleted but I anticipated her doing that when she realized Dan Rather interviewed me in Dallas so I took screen shots of the entire thread which is some of the basis of the “Bully in the Workplace” issue.

My first online stalker originated from the WIT forum and it is because of the treatment I received at this organization that led me to twitter.  That is how @TruckerDesiree was born.

Truth be known, I joined WIT in spring 2008 and had been reaching out for assistance from Ellen and on behalf of other Women I met during this journey who did not join due to the climate they observed where I was attacked verbally for seeking guidance AFTER I had been through my HR department.

I then joined OOIDA , not for assistance with the Women’s Issues in Trucking but because I was being asked to comment on many things trucking from my popularity on twitter and I was not educated in these matters enough to do so. I spent a good amount of time trying to gain knowledge or redirect people from twitter to the people at Landline Magazine who are also on Twitter to assist in some of these questions but they were not as interactive as I am.

Many times I called on the phone and spoke to a guy at OOIDA who emailed me articles and I would pass them along. Sometimes when I provided these articles I was attacked as with the case of the Dear VDOT Story in Appomattox News regarding the closure of Rest Areas.

There is a lot of unknown yet to be told history to this tale and I advised the Dan Rather Producers to “Please make the investigative reports LESS about ME and more about what is happening to people who have no voice or ability to speak to the outside world about what is going on in the trucking industry”.  My position has always been that it is futile to discuss the issues that need correction in a way only truckers understand because they already know the problem. The answers lie in making the story interesting enough for non-truckers to care about what is happening.

The ATA, WIT and OOIDA have known about me and my Student Trucker Story for awhile now. They also knew Dan Rather was doing an  Investigative Report. I believe ATA knew I was in the story but I think it caught WIT and OOIDA by surprise. This is an OLD story but it is a NEW twist to the story to a very interested NEW audience. There are many people being affected because Americans are desperate for work and the trucking industry is all too happy to take advantage of this crisis. These folks are searching for help.

Many Owner-Operators do not see the relevance to this story but they should because the mega companies with their confused disenfranchied cheap labor force of desperate people are seeking a chance at HOPE , they are hungry. Cheaper Labor will be the demise of Owner-Operators unless they pay attention. The Mexican Truckers that were mentioned in the broadcast making .13 cent a mile? That is what Student Truckers make and they are a dime a dozen but some of them figure out what is going on, like me.

OOIDA VP Todd Spencer was not aware I had joined OOIDA when he came over to shake my hand at the taping of Part 2 “Truck Talk” by Dan Rather. He did congratulate me on a “Good Job” but there is much more to the Student Trucker Industry than just my story and that is why I will persist to help get other Student Trucker Stories and Women Trucker Stories OUT to the public.

 The public is interested in Truckers right now like they have not been before because they can understand this topic whereas other issues they do not. That is why the message has been lost despite the fact that these things have been said before for many years.

While it was not planned that I attend this forum initially, the coincidence that I was in Texas at the same time prompted an invitation for me to be present. At the time I was told about the show schedule, I was sitting in Bentonville, Arkansas awaiting a load home to Texas. I waited much longer than I have ever had to wait for a load home with no word whatsoever. I did not understand the silence but when I found out about the behind the scenes wrangling it made sense to me.

I was happy that Allen Smith from “Ask the Trucker” was invited to attend and that the Dan Rather Producers facilitated him to participate, after all, it was Allen Smith of “Ask the Trucker” who reached out to help me. He and his Wife Donna provided me a place to tell my story and not be moderated away. It was my story “A Day in the Life of a Lady Trucker” that captured the interest of producers during their research of other blogs and organizations in the trucking industry.

My story is based on events and people I met as a student trucker. It has adventure, humor and triumph as I overcame obstacles set before me from the system seemingly set up for failure which is the Student Trucker Industry that I encountered. It is based on actual events from documented complaints I submitted to my company that were dismissed in some cases. Other situations I was told were being investigated but were in fact not being investigated. Because I kept meeting students with similar stories I began to write even though many of my obstacles were behind me. On Dec 16 2009, I will have 2 years of accident free driving with no citations despite everything I have endured. That is from sheer persistance and determination that I did not take “NO” for an answer. For every roadblock set before me I found an alternate route around those obstacles.

Michael H. Belzer who appeared in “Truck Talk” himself wrote a book about the Student Trucker Industry named appropriately “Sweatshops on Wheels” his book was written way before I came along. Indeed this is an old problem that has been long covered up.

I have to commend “Werner” Chief Operating Officer Derek Leathers for appearing and being open to a discussion. I wish that more companies had the courage to discuss suitable solutions for more effective training system for student truckers and personal safety for Women entering the industry which keeps being shoved to the side.

I was suprised by the opening statements by Mr. Rather about the ATA backing out. The evidence suggests they knew I was in Texas and were told I would be present. Even though I would not be on the forum, I did promise to be sorta kinda nice and sit in the audience with my hands folded on my lap. The ATA remarks about me not being credible and so forth are in my opinion a “catch all” statement. No one has contacted me from either my company or the ATA to request evidence or comment after the broadcast. The documents provided to Dan Rather Producers are copies my company has had for sometime, how honest they are being with the ATA and the fact that I have been reaching out for assistance at WIT during the past year and a half might be more of a reason they would like my story to go away.

OOIDA Life Member Miles Verhoef was extremely professional and it was an honor to shake his hand. He also did not know I was an OOIDA Member prior to this taping, I guess someone forgot to mention that and I hope no one was embarrassed by being caught off guard with that small tidbit of information.

I sat with veteran Women Truckers off to the side and they were quite happy with these issues coming to light, after the ending of the show I was rather touched by an older Woman and her Husband, both OOIDA members who you can see sitting in the front row, she came up and grabbed both my hands and said “Thank You so much for speaking up”. She was thrilled someone was listening to what is going on out here. THAT my friends …. (And enemies) is what makes me do the things I do and say the things I say.

 I am not motivated by money or sponsors or of fame. I am motivated by the ATA not showing up and answering questions about me to my face. I am motivated by my company who is willing to put more effort into a media packaged letter about their “Commitment to CARE” and hide me from other drivers with the same complaints as mine rather than address the obstacles student truckers and experienced drivers face from their system. I am motivated by Ellen Voie and Sandy Long which led me to Twitter and prompted me to purchase that PINK TOOLBOX. I am motivated by the drivers I meet everyday who wish someone would not only listen to them but understand the complex array of issues occurring out here which indeed affect Highway Safety, National Security and Human Dignity.

The day following the show I returned from my home time, I had 2 preloads waiting for me and got a third shortly afterwards. I also had a bad headlight that keeps blowing. My company policy is to go into a terminal for repairs to save money which is understandable with this economy. Being the “Team Player” that I am, I picked up my load in Texas “ON time” and advised through my QUALCOMM I would stop by our Hutchins terminal which was very close to me to have the issue fixed.

The response was: “Can’t we go to a truck stop and get a bulb?” My suspicion as I had written earlier in my Qualcomm was that this was a deeper issue because the bulb kept blowing and this particular terminal did the prior work last month so my intent was to get our mechanics to investigate their work to save our company money.

In trucking though you have to “read between the lines” on the Qualcomm which I have come to refer to as “Hot Potato”. They say something trying to you in order to provoke a response. You can only get rid of the “Hot Potato” by using special “Codewords” to get them to either go silent or move on to another subject.

I rarely interact with my current dispatcher. I am aware someone else has perhaps advised some of his word choices to me and I have a pretty good idea who it is. My dispatcher has never been privy to my student trucker story nor to the previous drama I endured in my other fleet, I feel sorta bad for him because he does not know what is going on and he is a good dude.

 Anyways, three days later, Two $16.00 bulbs, a stop at a TA for a temp fix which delayed my schedule resulting in being undispatched from a load and a trip to Freightliner for a repair because TA could not complete the work. Here I am still dealing with that headlight issue that I should have stopped by the terminal to have repaired. What does this all mean? 

Well, first go round a fleet Qualcomm was sent out prior to the Dan Rather broadcast telling our drivers not to speak to any media following the show if they were approached and for them to contact …. Get this… The HR Lady from my Student Trucker Story if they had questions. AS IF!  Here is a resource about HR Departments so educate yourself about that so you understand better. “How Organizations Empower Bully Bosses

So I suspect they didn’t really want me around other drivers so that they would not know that there is a second broadcast. See the way issues disappear in trucking is to ignore them, deny they exist and say the source is not credible. That’s the way it is done INSTEAD OF coming out and FIXING the problem.

I have never asked for special treatment, I only wanted to pay $5500.00 to learn to operate a truck safely. I am not the only one in the world who feels the same, to the contrary. I am not the only Women who has been badgered for sex, left in the desert and lied to that some investigation was occurring when it was not. I am not the only driver who is upset about idle policies to charge drivers when the Smart Way EPA award is being accepted for reducing emissions when in fact driver’s don’t have APU’s or proper bunk heaters.  The truth is driver’s are afraid to be charged by our employer to stay warm in winter that’s why the emissions are down! I am not the only driver upset about forced Per Diem and the DAC reporting system hanging over your head which has so many allegations of False Reports to keep drivers quiet.

I did live to tell the tale and I had a few talents that ole HR Lady never anticipated … I can write and communicate to the entire world from a PDA one letter at a time. And Guess What? THERE ARE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD WHO CARE ABOUT RAISING THE STANDARDS FOR TRUCKERS EVEN IF THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY DOES NOT!

It seems I am also an Inspriration for Ellen Voie, she is beginning to address the hard questions , albeit with my research. On November 11, 2009 at 4am I posted an intriging article about another industry experiencing similar challenges for Women on a new Twitter account called @WomenTruckers I followed Ellen who blocked it and me but not before she lifted one of the articles for her forum which she posted November 11, 2009 at 9:43 am  on “Women in Trucking

This is not the first time this has happened where what I wrote was “borrowed” by Ellen Voie.

I Support “Women in Trucking” but I do not believe in “Selling” personal safety, this should be free information. Esspecially when the ones you need to protect yourself from are in your own company and if one of those companies is a “Women in Trucking” Sponser, that’s sort of a conflict of interest now isn’t it?

Let’s spell that out a little. If the ATA and WIT are working together and Violence is occuring to Women who are entering trucking in their student phase and ATA says I am not credible and WIT says I don’t support their mission yet they are trying to make a “Best Practices Guide” with the EEOC, to what? Sell to companies in a way in the form of sponserships?  That sorta sounds like “Vinny” coming by some “Mom & Pop” shop saying if you pay me , I will make sure Guido my cousin won’t break into your store”. Preventing Violence toward Women & Men as they enter the Trucking Industry, keeping people SAFE should be FREE. The trucking industry should do it willingly not spend money to cover it up and fight it. What is wrong with you people?

All of the links on this wordpress are to provide free resources to anyone who wants to learn more. I have always been good at collecting information, research, networking and manging difficult people …. I just want to drive a truck right now.

I have started a new Fan Page on Twitter and Facebook and it WILL NOT be a NON-Profit Organization, because I have learned that means nothing. It means only someone is getting a paycheck and they may or may not being doing anything to help the people they are collecting membership fees from.  This will be a free support network of people who care about other people to provide FREE information for resources both Men and Women.

 Those are the kind of Women Truckers I have met, they have Huge Hearts and vast knowledge.

See Y’all at MATS for the Salute to Women behind the Wheel!

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Women in Trucking

 

Where has the Non-Profit Organization, “Women in Trucking” been in all of this?  Well, that will be my next cronicle if I can ever finish my student trucker story.  I joined “Women in Trucking” as soon as I had chance to get to a computer in 2008. I was under the impression that the Mission Statement on the front page of the website was accurate.

I observed the climate for a period of time before I ever posted. It most certainly did not seem very friendly but the immediate positive response from other truckers on Allen Smith’s “Ask the Trucker” who were both male and female persuaded me to reach out to Char Pingel and tell her about what had been happening to me AFTER I went through the chain of command and into the arms of the HR Lady in my story.

Char told me to post on the “Women in Trucking” forum and I did. I started a thread called “My NEW experience might help you.

This thread has the most reads of any thread on the WIT Forum which at last count was over 3000! From day 1 I was attacked publically on the WIT forum by Sandy Long aka Lady Godiva . In a series of private emails I was further dismissed and basically told that they run people off like me who want to publically discuss what I was seeing with my own two eyes happen to Women who were entering the trucking industry for the first time.

Remember, I entered as a single Woman, not with a Husband or Boyfriend. I do not come from a trucking family. I was totally reliant on my CDL School Training, My Company Support System and My Trainer to provide me the tools to be successful. So far, none of them had come through for me but I wasn’t going to quit.

I first called Char Pingel and told her that a public cat fight is detrimental to ALL Women and she agreed but nothing was done. Later, I began emailing Ellen Voie about the fact that her forum seemed to be commandeered by Lady Godiva who actually has shown time and again that she does not like other Women. I was called names that were meant to label me and be derogatory but all the names were in fact, all different types of Women!  It made me wonder, “What kind of Women are allowed to be supported in “Women in Trucking”?

After many calls and emails to Ellen Voie and watching her tweet about getting her CDL but never actually operating a Big Rig herself, I saw that she had an aversion to the hard questions that are of the upmost importance for new females entering trucking. Is she an Advocate? or a Carpetbagger?

Here are a sampling of screen shots made from Ellen’s Twitter tag  @WomeninTrucking (Caution: Ellen Deletes stuff after I publish it but I have the screen shots on my hard drive) *** Note: These are in reverse order as they are Twitter Stream Tweets

WomenInTrucking

89. I am traveling out west with my boyfriend, and I am
so happy that I can handle a 38 foot 5th wheel trailer!
3:33 PM Jan 22nd from web
     
90. The Trucker ran a story about my getting my CDL
http://www.thetrucker.com 9:55 AM Jan 18th from web
     
91. I did not have to take a written or practical test to
transfer my Ohio CDL to Wisconsin. 4:25 PM Jan
15th from web
     
92. I completed the driving test in Ohio, then came back
to Wisconsin and transferred my license. I am now a
CLD holder! 4:24 PM Jan 15th from web
     
93. I passed!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I got my CDL today. 8:22 AM Jan
9th from txt
     
94. This week I will be returning to Canton Ohio to take
my driving test over. I’m scheduled for 8 am
Thursday. Wish me luck! 2:42 PM Jan 6th from web
     
95. I made a left turn and the light down the road turned
green in my turn, so he claims that I made them slow
down. Darn! I’ll be back! 9:49 AM Dec 22nd, 2008
from web

96. So, the bad news is that the examiner did not pass me
on the driving test. He said that I impeded traffic. 9:48
AM Dec 22nd, 2008 from web
     
97. I took my CDL test on Saturday. I passed the pre-trip
with an 89 out of 90. I passed the skills test also
(parallel parking was not fun!) 9:47 AM Dec 22nd,
2008 from web
     
98. Today is the day. I am up early, after spending the
night in Canton. My test is at 8 am. Next time I log in
I hope to have my CDL! 4:08 AM Dec 20th, 2008
from web
     
99. This afternoon I was able to get my last hour of
driving time in to complete my 10 hours of driving. It
was slushy outside. 5:20 PM Dec 19th, 2008 from web
     
100. The freezing rain caused us to stay in the classroom
all morning. We watched videos and practiced our
pretrip inspection by memory. 10:26 AM Dec 19th,

I spent my own meager salary on two occasions to attend trucking conventions to meet Ellen Voie in person to see for myself. Is she only trying to collect a paycheck from a non-profit organization off the backs of Real Women Truckers or what?

On a number of occasions she had told me that “WE” cannot say anything disparaging about certain companies because “they might be our sponsers”. That’s pretty sick when you consider that CRST is one of them.

When time permits I will chronicle all the emails, all the bullying, all reasons that the idea of a Women’s Trucking Organization is wonderful but in order to be responsible it is imperative to be clear that you WILL NOT help those entering Trucking if they get raped, beaten or harrassed. It is esspecially important because of the frequent radio appearences made by Ellen Voie that encourage Women to use her book as a guide to help them through CDL Training.

That is not radical feminism, it just being clear that you represent the industry, not the Women who drive the actual Truck.

Allen Smith did two shows on the topic of “Bullying in the Workplace” both of those links for the archived shows are in my FAQ section. The topic was in part inspired by the CRST Sexual Harrassment Case which was occuring at the same time the situation on the WIT forum was going on. Remarks putting down other Women and making Judgements on Women were frequent. One particular thread commented on was about how a crocheted valance had been seen on a big rig and this was looked down upon, as that female was just advertising her presence. This was sort of funny because at the same time a female crocheting trucker on Twitter seemed like she could handle herself pretty well if someone came to give her any shit about her hobby.

I delibrately persisted on the WIT forum. I wanted to see for myself and for the other Women who had been contacting me what sort of support WIT truly could offer to overcome obstacles in their trucking carreer. 

Ellen Voie was invited to participate in these radio programs. She even had us rearrange the schedule to accomadate her schedule, which we did. Unfortunately, she later declined citing her lawyer advised her against it, but she would love to do a follow-up show.

In Las Vegas, the general consensus from Women Truckers I met is that Ellen Voie is not doing anything for Women Truckers.  She did manage to land a reality TV Producer though, but that’s actually not too hard if you have ever been to Vegas or anywhere in California. You just have to be willing to make an ass of yourself on TV. Selling the idea of Women Truckers very easy but the image Ellen & the ATA are trying to sell the general public may not be helping Real Women Truckers at all.

In Dallas, Ellen Voie took credit for something she had absolutely nothing to do with and in fact wanted no part in asking for a company to address the subject matter. I had seen her do this with articles as well. I was beginning to get the picture.

As I get time I will chronicle all of this because what she is doing is actually detrimental to Women. There is a problem in the trucking industry for female students and Ellen is recruting them with her book and radio appearences, therefore she needs to clarify to these women that should they be harmed, she is not the person to go to.

Please watch this Video Clip in Ellen’s own words for and upcoming documentry on Bullying in the Workplace by filmaker Beverly Peterson.

Like I told Ellen Voie in a recent email, “I support Women in Trucking but I do not Support a Women who has never driven a truck making money off the backs of those who do, there in a name for that you know!”

Also, I am including this post I made about the CRST Sexual Harrassment Case which is Ellen Voie’s Sponser. It is from this post I came to know Tracey Tuttle-Hamm and “OKCSafety” who is “Tom” in the Dan Rather Segment called “Queen of the Road”  read it HERE

 

 

 

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Dan Rather Interview - "Queen of the Road"

Dan Rather Interview - "Queen of the Road"

Big Week Y’all

Yes, I was interviewed by Dan Rather and as it turns out this is not the first time he has covered the American Trucker.

The episode called “Queen of the Road” , was so popular that the Dan Rather Producers made the video FREE which is HUGE for us poor peons who have trouble getting online in the first place. It is also available for purchase on DVD or download on itunes for $1.99, it took a long time to download so I’m glad about the free link. Watch it now :

“Dan Rather Report – \”Queen of the Road\”

Despite a fleet message telling our drivers to NOT talk to media, I know some were eager to find an outlet to share their story.
Here is an email for the Dan Rather Report to share your CDL School Story and/or Training Company Story to the Dan Rather Report viewer@HD.net

A follow up show is planned so please take this opportunity to share your experience.

Most of the feedback has been positive but I have had some haters, the usual suspects of course. One guy from my company who has worked there 8 years showed how he practices his “Commitment to CARE” by calling me some names that Allen & Donna Smith at “Ask the Trucker” did not feel comfortable posting on their site.

Here is a link to the post on “Ask the Trucker” about “Queen of the Road” with comments section. Remember that not even a smidgen of my Student Trucker Story was told on this show because of the time constraints, so before the speculators start speculating you have lots of research to do before you make commentary. Remember, I scattered around the internet to create a puzzle. ( for social media experiment)

I have been busy responding to comments and emails in the last couple days but one of my comments has not been published. It is one that I made  regarding the following article about the ATA response.

In this article on TheTrucker.com I did not have a place to make a comment but it did provide an email to the editor so I wrote the following:

“Subj: Want my comment?
Date: Thu Oct 22, 2009 4:43 pm

To: editor@thetrucker.com

All interviews were cut down for time constraints and many more drivers were interviewed.
As I stated in the HDNet Blog and on the “Ask the Trucker” post, all original
uninvestigated statements I was ASKED to write by my company plus photos, police
report and emails were provided to Dan Rather Report.

I even called the Head of Security of the location where the bleach incident occurred
to ask if anyone from my company has EVER contacted him about my co-driver who threw
bleach on me and was highly intoxicated and took possession of the high dollar freight
that night on I-40 has ever contacted him, he said NO, never has anyone tried to
investigate why an intoxicated driver drove their truck with high security freight
after having several long island ice teas.

That is but ONE complaint in a 9 month training fiasco which is NOT uncommon from
the standpoint of us minions down here behind the wheel.

Thanks,
Desiree”

That’s what I wrote but I have not seen it published anywhere.

The ATA response does prompt some questions , I have copied and pasted a paragraph here:

“The open road has always lured its share of dreamers, and with the trucking industry’s chronic driver shortage, it was an easy match for Desiree Wood,” Rather said, apparently without noting that the industry doesn’t have a driver shortage now and that, in fact, it’s lost almost 200,000 jobs in the past three years.”

It seems that the ATA is upset that Dan Rather did not say that there is NO DRIVER SHORTAGE. This is something Allen Smith has been saying in “Truth about Trucking” for a very longtime.

I know at my company we still get many students each week and so does CRST , so what is happening to the experienced ones?

Also, why don’t the tell the CDL Schools there is no driver shortage and to stop giving loans to people for a job that does not exist?

A good deal of people who have paid to go to truck driving school cannot get a job right now as a truck driver but they still have a loan payment for CDL School, is that fair?

The story is about the “Student Trucker Industry” which includes, selling loans to people under false pretenses, using people to work for less than minimum wage with a promise of a long term career in the trucking industry.

There was a lot cut out from this broadcast and other people did interview and corroborate, I’m pretty confident the ATA, my Company and CRST do not want to hear from those who ended up on the cutting room floor.

One really funny coincidence is that one of the characters in my story was at my CDL School when this camera crew was there, that was not planned. He was in a brand new truck in Miami!

I wonder what he was doing???? recruiting maybe??? Hmmm….. Interesting fer sure.

Anyways, looks like there is going to be a followup show , so KOOL! Right On!

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