Trucking is a vital part of American industry, millions of truckers are on the road at any given time hauling millions of tons of goods. The women and men who drive these trucks often have long hours on the open road and brave tough conditions to get goods and services delivered, but sometimes they have to brave an even greater challenge; awful bosses.
Our story begins with a trucker, we’ll call him Moses. Back in 2002, he had been working as a long haul trucker for some time but had recently got engaged and wanted to find a local job that would allow him to go home each night to spend time with his soon to be wife. It didn’t have to be a luxurious job, just something to pay the bills. There weren’t many options, it was either working in the oil fields, or working for companies that move dirt around, and at least with the trucks you’d sometimes drive by something pretty, or a truck stop might have a nice slice of pie.
And while Moses had no issues finding a job, he would soon find out that the job he had was more trouble than it was worth.
The supervisor was a prick from the very beginning of the interview process. He informed Moses that he would only be paid $9/hour, nothing more. On top of that, there were no prospects of raises and there were no benefits, even if you work there for over 20 years. When taking inflation in account, the company would pay its employees less and less each year.
Despite all of this, Moses decided to just go on and accept it because he knew that after he got married, the couple would be moving back to his wife’s hometown where she’d be accepting a better paying job, and there were plenty of driving jobs there.
On Moses’ first day of work, his boss, lets call him Chad to avoid any confusion, had him fill out paperwork, and tried to force him to sign a waiver to decline Workers Compensation should he get injured. He “promised” their insurance was far better, but Moses had already learned about many of those scams, and refused to sign it.
In a way it’s funny that somebody would go through so much effort to make sure that somebody being paid very little would get even less in the event that they were crippled by a serious accident. Trying to put a squeeze was putting it mildly, Chad was trying to put Moses in a vice-grip and strangle the lifeblood out of him financially.
It wouldn’t be the only way his boss tried to attack him. No, remember, this is just day one.
Refusing to sign that waiver enraged Chad. It was funny in a way; being upset over such a trivial piece of paper. It was probably a sign that the paper was something that shouldn’t be signed, that the company was out to get the people working for it. Thankfully despite such a temper tantrum by Chad, Moses was still hired because they needed the manpower. The downside was that Moses had to train with another driver for a week before getting assigned to his own truck, which was good because they he was able to learn the routes and roads.
Before setting off, Moses heard Chad tell the trainer to nit-pick everything because he didn’t want Moses on the crew. Moses, however, was an instant natural on the road. It was incredible to watch, Moses would handle his big rig like a champion, making only a single error of accelerating a little too hard thanks to his clutch work. The trainer was stunned, and Chad was fuming that he couldn’t find a way to get rid of the new gadfly in his trucking gig. It wouldn’t be the only time that those two would clash.
So, Moses finished the week and got assigned his very own truck. He began to do his pre-trip safety inspection as required by the Department of Transportation regulations when he noticed one of the steer tires was almost worn out to the point where it would be a safety risk.
Moses informed his boss, “Hey boss, Unit 12 Left steer is almost to regs. It’s at 5/16.” Chad and Moses began a heated argument about the tires, with Chad arguing foolishly that Moses didn’t want to work, and Moses arguing that if they didn’t replace the tires that they’d be breaking the law and liable for jail.
Funnily enough after work the next day there were a new pair of tires on the truck, but the events were unrelated, probably. However, tires wouldn’t be the only way that the company skimped on safety, and it was the tip of the iceberg for the ever growing conflict between Moses and Chad.
The next week, Chad scheduled workers for night shifts, because he’s Chad and that’s precisely what he’d do.
Chad then began to lecture Moses before the shift, “When on the ranch land, watch your speed. If you hit and kill one of the landowner’s $45,000 prize winning steers that he makes $20,000 when breeding, I’ll run your rear off and you lose your pay.”
Moses then broke down laughing, tears almost streaming down his face.
Chad shouted back, “What are you laughing at? You don’t think I’m serious? Get your gear and get out.’
Moses, barely able to breathe with laughter giggled, “Is that what the land owner told you? He breeds his prize winning steer for $20,000 a pop? And you believe him?”
Moses was nearly on the ground laughing so hard.
Chad was extremely confused, “What’s your problem. Fine – go home.”
Moses, barely gathering his compose, sputtered out, “Sorry, I meant no disrespect. It’s just that, I imagine that you’re from up north, right? From the city?” Moses could tell from day one that Chad wasn’t actually a country boy based on that fake southern accent that he like to put on, but he had kept quiet about it until the moment was right. This was that moment.
An increasingly annoyed Chad grunted, “Yeah, what of it?”
Moses told him, “Well, I’m a city boy as well, but even I know that a steer is a castrated bull. While it’s true that a prize winning steer can be worth tens of thousands of dollars, they can’t be bred. Ask anyone here, they’ll confirm it.”
Seeking confirmation, Moses asked a random employee to confirm what he was trying to tell Chad. “Yes sir, it’s true. A steer is a bull with no balls,” the man explained, offering all the confirmation needed.
“Don’t matter,” Chad yelled out, “Watch your speed or you’re down the road.”
Chad walked off with a bruised ego and a plan for revenge starting to boil in the back of his head.
The second week ended and the third began. About the 3rd day, another truck broke down, so Chad decided to have Moses give his truck to the other driver and ride with his trainer again.
For some reason, Chad decided he wanted that to be Moses’ last day, but because of some worker protections, he wasn’t allowed to fire him for no reason. Chad did what any rational employer would do in this position. He made something up. But like everything else this shining example of incompetence had done in the preceding weeks, this plan was bound to blow up like one of those nearly shot tires he stubbornly kept on his trucks.
At the end of the day, Chad was waiting at the yard when Moses and his trainer pulled in parked the rig. Moses knew something was up when he went to the office to pick up his first check and noticed Chad waiting for him outside. Chad, with a smarmy grin plastered on his face tells Moses, “You done messed up today, boy. You almost got someone killed.”
Moses, knowing this is all nonsense, responded, “Really. Do tell.”
Chad smugly grinned and told Moses, “I received a call from a man who said that you cut him off and ran him off the road. He gave your truck and trailer numbers and identified you as the driver by the cap that you wear.”
Moses smiled right back at him, “Really. About what time did this incident happen?”
Chad, being overconfident told him, “Why’re you smiling. You nearly killed a man. I’m letting you go right now. You’re an unsafe driver.”
Moses then cooly replied, “No, first you need to answer my question.”
“What does it matter? I don’t have to answer you,” Chad yelled back. “You’re fired!!!”
Moses then sprung his rhetorical trap, “No, you do need to answer. Remember, there were two drivers in that truck today.”
At that moment, the trainer walked up as Moses continued, “And FYI, I know that I didn’t cut off anyone one today, as I did not drive at all. I can also vouch that the trainer did not cut anyone one off, nor ran anyone off of the road. So, either: 1) the guy misread the numbers of the truck and trailer and identity of the driver; 2) is lying, or 3) you’re the one lying because you have been trying to find fault in everything I do and run me off since day one when I refused to sign the waiver for Workman’s Comp.”
Chad sputtered out, “You little…”
The trainer chimed in, “He’s right. I drove all day, and don’t recall any incidents or near misses. You know I’d have called as per policy.”
Chad quietly stammered out, “Well, alright. I guess you still have your job. But know, I’m keeping a real close eye on you.”
Moses was grinning ear to ear as he replied, “Thank you, and I don’t doubt it. My rear has already been feeling your nose hairs tickling it since day one.”
Moses opened his paycheck and looked at it as Chad began to walk away fuming.
To say Moses was confused when he saw a $59 insurance deduction on his paycheck would be an understatement. He ran up to Chad and helped him remember that the company didn’t offer insurance to its drivers, or any benefits for that matter.
“That’s for the insurance against injury,” Chad boldly replied referring to the insurance he tried to force Moses to take on his first day on the job. The very same day Moses refused to waive his Workers Compensation. “It’s Mandatory.”
A light bulb went off in Moses’ head. This is where he could get Chad. Get him back for the lies, cons, and other schemes the moron had come up with over the previous two weeks. “So it’s deducted whether I sign up for it or not,” Moses asked, knowing the answer.
Defiant and failing to see that he was stepping into a trap, Chad said, “Yep. Don’t like it? Don’t let the door hit your rear on the way out.”
Moses decided to end it right there, as there was no point in arguing with a spoiled child. It’s best to be the better man and walk away from the whole situation – yeah, I didn’t buy that either. Instead of letting it go, Moses came up with a plan to ruin Chad once and for all.
Chad had treated Moses like Garbage, unfortunately for Chad he was running the operation by the seat of his pants, and Moses happened to live near some people with the Texas Dept. of Public Safety, which was the DMV for truckers.
It’s an urban legend in the area that one day a tiny bird flew into the yard of the captain in charge of the Department of Public Safety, and left him a note detailing some problems at the local truck yard. The same morning a half dozen troopers had parked their vehicles in front of the Trucking station, while Moses spied them from afar with a McCoffee in one hand and binoculars in the other. He was giggling like a child from his station wagon, gleefully chuckling at the mixture of incompetence and comeuppance that he was witnessing.
Of the 15 trucks the company ran, 11 of them were shut down for safety violations. Thousands of dollars in fines were written to the firm, and Chad plus two other drivers were taken to jail for warrants. Chad also had an expired Commercial Driver’s License, and was forced to drive since Moses didn’t show up for work that morning, which only got him into more trouble.
Chad had been a real prick the entire time, and honestly he deserved everything that was coming to him. He had endangered his employees with bad equipment, tried to scam them out of valuable insurance, and generally made life unbearable for anybody who stood up for themselves.
Moses had thankfully told his trainer that he was behind the State Trooper surprise inspection, and he thanked Moses profusely. He told Moses that most of the other drivers wanted to thank him as well. Some were worried about the safety of the equipment, but didn’t report it because they had been told off for reporting smaller things as well. Many were brand new to truck driving and got their license through the company.
They said that through Moses, they learned that they had rights and protections, and that it was okay to stand up for the things they were owed. They had been suspicious of the waiver but feared declining it due to retaliation. All but two immediately had pulled their worker’s compensation waivers, and due to that move, one driver was saved. She was involved in a bad accident about a month later and wound up on permanent disability. Had she stayed with the company’s insurance, she would have been left completely broke and unable to work because they did not offer long term, let alone, lifetime disability benefits, and she had learned that most of her medical claims would have been denied. She would have joined the thousands of people around the country left destitute and unable to find a path forward.
At the end of the entire ordeal Chad lost his job, and crashed hard. Moses then moved to his fiancée’s home town and got a job in the oilfield driving tanker trucks. He heard that his old trainer got Chad’s job after everything went down.
Everyone lived happily ever after. Well, maybe not Chad, but who cares about Chad?