I have hauled many different commodities in my career as a Commodities Relocation Specialist. I have hauled cottonseed, diapers, fruit roll ups, dog food, laundry detergent, and fabric. I have hauled REAL pig skins and frozen chicken, bottled water and Pepsi.
One time I hauled a load of cigarettes out of California with so much security you would have thought I was carrying nuclear secrets or something.
I even hauled a load of Tampons from somewhere in Missouri to Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Well, almost to Green Bay. I ran into a little problem along the way.
I spent a lovely May evening somewhere in southern Illinois at a Shell Truck Stop. After doing my pre-trip, I headed up the road on my way to Wisconsin. This route took me past my house, so I decided to stop at home and visit with the family, and the yet to be delivered Jack.
After a lovely lunch at Hardee's, I headed back up the road on my way to deliver all 38,000 pounds of tampons in the trailer. Heading up Route 151 in Sun Prairie Wisconsin, I accelerated from 55 to 63 and set my cruise. As I was doing this, a gust of wind pushed against my trailer, trying to gently push me to the right. As I gently nudged my steering wheel to the left, a funny thing happened. The truck did not respond. There was no pressure against the wheel.
For a second I thought "That's odd" until I realized that what this meant was that I HAD NO STEERING!!!!
That is right boys and girls, my steering had ceased to function. Without getting all technical, the hoochamajiggy came off the thingamajig, literally disconnecting my steering wheel from the wheels. (For you mechanics, I know you understand what I am talking about. Some mechanic said the pitman arm came off the steering box and I was like "Yeah right, you weren't there, how do you know?)
So, 63 mph. 38,000 lbs of tampons, 1 split second to make a decision. What do you do wise guy, what do you do?
First, I think I may have cursed out loud. Just a little bit, but I am sure I used every word I could think of and then I made up a few, just to make sure I had my bases covered.
Did I mention I was on a bridge? Oh yeah, and that there are 4 lanes of traffic with a median. Oh yeah, and that there was a drop to my right? (That is where the change of underwear comes in. I really could have used one.)
Well, the Lord had his hand on my truck that day, kind of like a child playing with a toy truck. The wind that was annoying me, actually pushed me into the jersey barriers on the right. Why is this good? If my truck had gone to the left, I would have gone across 3 lanes of traffic and a pretty nasty median, but going to the right allowed the truck to stay on the road until it was across the bridge. Then I went down an embankment and came to stop on the entrance ramp that lead up to the highway I just came off of.
The truck did not roll over thanks to the soft ground and God's will.
It is funny what you think of after a stressful situation like that. After I knew I was OK, and that no one else was involved in my accident, I went to the bunk of my truck and checked out the TV/DVD combo we had purchased not too long before. I heard it hit the floor of the bunk as the truck rolled down the embankment, and I wanted to see if it still worked. After all, what would I do without entertainment? So before I did ANYTHING else, I plugged it back in and turned it on. Guess what? It still worked!
I called my company to let them know what had happened and waited for the police to show up. It was then that I realized what had really just happened and how close I came to something much more serious occurring. I had almost left this earth without seeing my son. I would have missed watching his little newborn eyes trying to focus on my voice when I spoke to him for the first time out of the womb. I almost missed seeing him born. (OK, I just put that in there so you guys will think that was special for me. It was really kinda gross. I wouldn't trade that memory for anything though) I almost missed hearing him say he was daddy's baby.
I almost missed the Indians winning the World Series (GO TRIBE!) and the Browns winning the Super Bowl! (I am the eternal optimist. I am a Cleveland fan, what can I say?)
I also almost missed out on all the memories I have had since then, and that I will have in the future. Don't take safety for granted. Some things are beyond our control, like that Thingamajig breaking. Some things, however, are not beyond our control.
We can drive safely. We can maintain a safe following distance. We can do the speed limit. We can pay attention while we are driving. (I saw a woman one day reading a report or something she had placed on her steering wheel, talking on the phone, and drinking something with a child in the car. I hope she made it where she was going for the child's sake.)
We can be patient. (I have a hard time with that one). We can be tolerant without being hateful.(politics included in that statement)
And when we come upon one of those things we can not control, trust God, pray, and sometimes, you gotta just hang on for the ride and hope your TV/DVD combo works afterwards.