So much vitriol is spilled out every day about trucking – that fatigue runs rampant among truck drivers, threatening everyone using the roadways, for starters – that it obscures not only the hard work done by the industry to ensure all sorts of vital goods get delivered every day but the good deeds done largely under the radar by those doing the delivering, too.
One reason I’m dwelling on this topic today is that someone who used to remind me of those very facts – and who himself served as a living embodiment of hard work and good cheer where writing about trucking is concerned – passed away very unexpectedly this weekend.
Anyone who knew Mike Pennington (at right) knew first and foremost he was a class act, but more than that, conducted his work with an ever-present smile.
No matter how long the hours at a trade show or how dense the subject matter might be at press conference, with Mike around, there would always be laughter and good cheer aplenty.
Though a serious newsman through and through, Mike always enjoyed the offbeat tales that crop up continually in this industry – and I think the neat little story United Parcel Service crafted below about one of Big Brown’s smallest fans would’ve certainly appealed to him.
Even when the times turn somber – and losing Mike so unexpectedly is definitely one of those times – those within the “trucking community” know how to rally the goodness of the human spirit.
Take this story, for example, where local truckers came together to support a young boy suffering from brain cancer, with one of their own providing the young man’s last ride after the disease took his life.
Then there are the truck drivers that gather every year to participate in the annual “Make A Wish Convoy and Truck Show,” an event started 14 years ago to help raise money for children dying of incurable diseases.
There’s also the annual “Highway Heroes” award sponsored by Goodyear Tires, which honors the unsung bravery of truck drivers that stepped in to lend aid in perilous roadway situations – often saving lives in the process.
Usually, though, such displays of “stalwart spirit” by members of the trucking community go completely unnoticed by the general public. It’s a shame, though, because those are the kinds of good works that really demonstrate what “human spirit” is really all about.