Team drivers Bryan and Nikki Larrea have been married for 18 years.

Five Good Things: Trucking tales of love and generosity

Feb. 10, 2023
In this week's blog of good trucking news: One trucker couple's romance, a driver who takes to television to recount donating her kidney to another operator's husband, and preparing 50,000 meals for the hungry.

Ahead of Valentine's Day weekend, we want to highlight the loving stories of drivers who love their life on the road, as well as the generosity of transportation organizations who give to both workers and to charity.

Please pass along good news for our weekly Five Good Things blog by email or through our LinkedInFacebook, or Twitter accounts.

A trucking love story

As Nikki Rae watched the orange-and-white hay truck roll across the overpass near her Meridian, Idaho, home, her grandmother asked, “Just promise me one thing, honey. Don’t ever get with a hay hauler like that. They’re dangerous.”

Little did 14-year-old Nikki know the driver behind the wheel of the big rig was Bryan Larrea—the man she’d marry in 2005.

“We’re best friends,” Nikki said in a statement to “We never argue or fight. We’re inseparable even when we’re driving different trucks. We follow one another and talk on the CB. If we can’t both take or pick up loads in the same location, we won’t go.”

Nikki and Bryan live Valentine’s Day every day either at their Caldwell, Idaho, home or on the interstates in a 26-wheeler delivering freight to all parts of the U.S.

If Valentine’s Day occurs while they’re on the road, Bryan and Nikki still celebrate however they can. One year, they took turns going into a Wal-Mart to buy each other something while parking overnight in the store lot. “At least the suspense is there if the surprise isn’t,” Nikki said. “We know what we’re doing but don’t know what the gift is.”

See also: Father-daughter team drivers take family life on the road

Trucker Carol Nixon donates kidney to save fellow driver's husband, tells all on The Drew Barrymore Show

Truck driver Carol Nixon recently made an appearance on The Drew Barrymore Show to recount the time she donated her kidney to save the life of a fellow driver’s husband.

Nixon, whose father was a trucker, has been on the road since 1990. Although she said trucking wasn’t considered a woman’s place at the time, “If you tell me I can’t do it, I’m going to do it.”

When Nixon met fellow Walmart driver Deb Pollard at the first Women in Trucking (WIT) Accelerate! Conference & Expo, Pollard mentioned that her husband was on dialysis.

Nixon volunteered to see if her kidney was a match for Pollard’s husband, Craig, and it was. In November 2016, they underwent the surgery with no complications. The first night Craig had Carol’s kidney, it pulled 10 liters of fluid from him without even having to be hooked up to dialysis to get the kidney started.

“I’m all in with everything,” Nixon said. “You have to put yourself in that position. You think about your daughters. What if you couldn’t do it for them? What if somebody in your family couldn’t do it for them? Would you not want someone that is healthy to be able to do it?

In honor of Nixon, TravelCenters of America named a truck stop in North Bend, Washington the Carol Wolder-Nixon North Bend Travel Center.

During the television segment, host Drew Barrymore gifted Nixon mud flaps, fuzzy dice, and a trucker cap branded after the show, as well as an air freshener in the shape of Barrymore. Nixon also received a five-night, six-day stay at TradeWinds Island Resort in St. Pete Beach in Florida

“What can you say?” Deb Pollard said in a WIT release. “Thank you is not enough. She saved Craig’s life. She saved my husband’s life.”

See also: Five Good Things: Best fleets and halting trafficking in its tracks

Southeastern Freight Lines prepares 50,000 meals for South Carolina food bank

Southeastern Freight Lines (No. 45 on the FleetOwner 500 Top For-Hire Fleets list), a less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier, partnered with the Minneapolis-based hunger relief nonprofit Harvest Pack to prepare 50,000 meals for Harvest Hope Food Bank

In celebration of the carrier’s 10th anniversary of its “Southeastern Serves” charitable program, more than 266 Southeastern volunteers gathered at the company’s headquarters in Lexington, South Carolina to package breakfast meals.

“The Southeastern Serves program empowers our associates to give back to their communities and support various essential organizations, such as Harvest Pack and the Harvest Hope Food Bank,” said Tobin Cassels, president at Southeastern Freight Lines. “It’s heartwarming to reflect on the impact Southeastern Serves projects have had across our company’s footprint since the program’s establishment in 2012." 

See also: Five Good Things: Highway Angels' voting opens, shepherding trucking's next generation

Port of Oakland holds Trucker Appreciation Day

The Port of Oakland in California—one of the busiest in the nation—celebrated truckers' essential role in the supply chain by providing free lunch from the port's many food trucks.

Manufacturing workers celebrate 10,000th Mack MD Series trucks produced

Employees at Mack Trucks Roanoke Valley Operations in Roanoke Valley, Virginia, celebrated the 10,000th Mack MD Series truck produced at the plant. The MD6 and MD7 models—Class 6 and 7 models, respectively—began rolling off the line Sept. 1, 2020.

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