Trucker Buddy International is an outreach group that helps children (and adults) learn more about what truck drivers do for their community and country. Most people see semi trucks out on the roads every day, but have no idea what goes into the job, or who is in the drivers seat. The unique program designed by Trucker Buddy helps change that, and also helps improve the public’s perception of who truck drivers are.
In November of 2012, an elementary school teacher in Ada, Oklahoma nominated a very special truck driver for Trucker Buddy of the Month – her husband, a driver for WalMart stores. Here’s the story of her experience.
“I found out about this program through Michael as he has carried a few prized possessions around the country for other classrooms and he suggested that I participate in the program this year. After I found out how to get started, signed up, and was matched with Michael, I introduced Hayes the Trucking Buddy to my classroom. To say the students were a little excited would be putting it mildly. They chose the clothes he would wear for the trip, items for his backpack, and decorated his journal. Then we waited.
On a Friday morning in October, Michael showed up at our school in his Walmart uniform, driving his truck and pulling a Walmart Educational Blind Spot Trailer.
Michael presented a safety program to 450 first and second grade overly excited students and said two words that one must never say in that situation, “Everyone and “Run.” Well, they all did! They ran to the side of the trailer, the back of the trailer, to the front of the trailer, and if Michael wasn’t several feet taller than the students, one would have never noticed he was a little older than most first and second graders.
The students, many of whom have never been that close to a truck before listened intently to his presentation and many of my fellow teachers stated, even they were not aware a truck had blind spots and that is takes so long for a loaded semi to stop. The students on the other hand, were fascinated by the fact there was a bed in the truck, and many have decided they now want to be truck drivers.
After the safety presentation, Michael accommodated all 450 students as they toured the inside of his tractor. He assisted our
students in wheelchairs, answered hundreds of questions, and volunteered his time unconditionally.
Not only was the safety presentation educational, my class project has turned into a school wide activity. Hayes the Trucking Buddy has become a familiar part of our school. Our website posts regular updates of his travels, my interactive bulletin board is visited on a daily basis, and every Monday morning during our school assembly, Hayes makes an appearance during the slide show. In addition, Michael has written letters to our school and visits us on Fridays when he can. The students think a lot of him and are learning so many important things about the country in which they live! None of this would be possible if it were not for our driver Michael!”