Sometimes our trucking life and the interaction with people we meet along the way have unexpected consequences - this is that type of a story. I came home off the road to find Dad and Pop in the shop with a van trailer that they were modifying by welding tie-downs into the frame. A company in Toronto that we did a lot of work for had come up with a contract to supply thirty pieces of heavy manufacturing equipment to a company in Japan, and they had contacted Dad about hauling it all to a warehouse in Vancouver to be sent by ship to Japan. Dad explained that the equipment had to be kept dry, thus the van, and we could haul four pieces at a time, (24,000 lbs), which they could make every three weeks. Dad figured we could haul it there and find something coming east and still make a good profit, but we had to start next week, and he was just getting the van ready.
I was all for it and Dad decided that I should run double with this to give us time between loads to service the truck and trailer on each round, so I ended up pulling Al, (not his real name), off one of our gravel trucks and on Saturday we headed to Toronto to load. Loading was fine, and Dad's tie-downs were spot on, so away we went Sunday night. Al and I ran six on six off across Canada, and our big old R model Mack loved the light load. We pulled into the warehouse in Vancouver Friday morning, unloaded and proceeded to take a weekend off thinking we would reload on Monday and head back. Now, this is where things went bad. Al was an alright guy, but he was married, and he still did have a roving eye. I noticed he paid a lot of attention to a waitress at the diner we frequented, but I did not say or do anything. I went back to the truck, pulled out my grease gun and proceeded to do some service work on the truck. Al did not come back until Sunday night, but we reloaded Monday morning and took a leisurely trip back to Toronto and then to the yard.
This went on for every trip, but Al would leave right after unloading in Vancouver and not show up until Monday morning, and I noticed that the waitress, (Cindy - not her real name), was also missing from the diner. Finally, after the seventh trip, we pulled into the yard, and while I was putting the truck away, Al went to talk to Dad and left before I got into the house. That was when Dad told me that Al had just quit and wanted to know what had happened. As far as I knew, nothing had happened, but I had my suspicions.
The eighth and final trip of this contract had Len and me running double with only two machines in the box. The trip was easier than before, and we made great time. We unloaded at the warehouse and headed over to the diner and then to the motel. Saturday morning and as we were walking across to the diner, I noticed a car parked by my truck and a young lady knocking on the door, so I walked over, and there was Cindy, wanting to know where Al was. When I told her that he had quit, she told me that was impossible as that was his truck and he had promised to take her back home with him on this trip. I invited her over to the diner where we could sit down, and I could find out the whole story. It seemed that Al had told her that he was the owner of the company, this was his truck, and he was single. Apparently, they had been shacking up on every trip, and she was supposed to move to Ontario with him on this trip. Then she said that she was also two months pregnant. I had to tell her that I was the company owner's son, Al was married, and he had already left our company and we did not know where he was. Len confirmed all this, and the poor young lady was in tears by the time we had explained everything. I managed to get her full name and phone number and also the phone number of her parents in Chilliwack and told her I would keep in touch with her and try to find Al and get things figured out.
Len and I reloaded and headed back Monday, and when we got home, I tried to find Al, but he had headed out somewhere, and nobody knew where except maybe his parents and they were not even talking to us as Al had told them some pretty tall tales. Al did have some vacation pay coming, so I took it upon myself to ship that money to Cindy along with a letter that I would keep in touch and try to help out wherever I could. I stopped in to see Cindy every time I got out to the coast. The day after her daughter was born I was there and drove her home to her parent's place in Chilliwack. After spending a weekend with them, I made sure that she and the baby were fine and being taken care of and I also left her Dad with a fairly large sum of cash for Cindy and the baby. Over the next three years, I kept in touch with Cindy and dropped off grocery money whenever I got to the coast and made sure she was OK. Finally, about three years later, Cindy found a good man, got married to him and moved with him to Vancouver Island. Except for a Christmas card now and then, we lost touch with her, but I knew she and the child were safe and happy. Al – well I found out later that his wife finally left him, he lost his licence due to a DWI, and he moved into his parent's basement and became the local town bum.
The trucking on this run was great, and even though I was not responsible for anything that happened, there were consequences, but everything worked out in the end. Cindy – I know you married a log trucker, so if by chance you happen to read this, remember that we still think of you and wish you all the best.