It’s 10:59pm CDT Friday night at a truck stop in West Memphis, Arkansas. I had drifted off to sleep for about a half hour after dropping the phone on my face twice trying to finish a game of Candy Crush Friends. Michelle had given in a little earlier and was fast asleep. We were both exhausted from driving all night on Thursday from the Dallas/Fort Worth area to Marmaduke, Arkansas and then relocating back to the Memphis area. It was a warm, humid night so we had our portable AC set up and the muted purring of our generator outside helped lull us to sleep.
Then the Star Trek red-alert ringtone went off on my phone signalling a love/hate call from one of our load brokers. We love to get the call, especially after sitting all day and missing out on at least three loads that would have brought us back home. But we also hate to get that call when we’ve only gotten an hour or less of sleep.
“I’ve got the customer on the other line,” the voice said, “they’ve got two small boxes totalling about 10 pounds that needs to go from Memphis to Homewood, Illinois. About 512 miles loaded.”
“Pickup ASAP or in the morning?” I asked, already knowing the answer.
“ASAP. Delivers direct,” came the reply. Michelle and I collectively groan. (Direct essentially means as fast as you can get it there, allowing, of course, for normal bathroom and fuel stops.)
We could have turned down the load. But when the customer stays on the line, they tend to be a little more desperate and we knew we would be in a good area for our next load so we threw in a higher-than-normal bid and hung up.
11:01pm CDT. The red alert sounds again. Another collective groan.
“Hey, we got that load. I’ll send the info as soon as I get it.”.
“Ok, we’ll be rolling as soon as we get our generator and AC put up.” Michelle is already moving as I finish the call and hang up. We throw on the work clothes, disassemble our AC setup and generator, and make a quick run to the restroom. The email with our instructions comes in while we’re in the restroom so we’re off and running 18 minutes from the initial call.
It’s not just a.job, it’s an adventure. 😁