A truck driver was able to help a stranded student get back home for the holidays thanks to some quick thinking by her mother, who works in logistics. 

Ellice Murphy is a senior at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont and was on her way home to Roseau, Minnesota for the holidays when her second flight of the trip, a flight from Minneapolis to Thief River Falls, got cancelled due to weather. Determined to get her daughter home for the holidays, Diane Murphy decided to look for help within an industry she knows well – trucking. 

Diane works for Polaris as a central planner, and a large part of her job involves getting parts shipped to different Polaris plants, so of course working with trucking companies is a large part of getting things where they need to go. That’s when she thought of a local trucking company, Byfuglien Trucking. 

“That’s like the first thing I thought of,” said Diane. “I should see if Byfuglien Trucking by any chance has a truck down there.”

Diane called Julie Byfuglien of Byfuglien Trucking, who then contacted truckers in the area. Alex Lee, a trucker from Warroad, Minnesota, said yes to helping the family out right away. 

“He did not hesitate. Not even knowing who this girl is, he was completely willing to help,” said Byfuglien.

Lee was picking up a forklift for Polaris at the time, so Ellice took an Uber from the airport to Bennett Material Handling, where Lee was waiting for his load, and the two met up. 

“I was telling my friends from school and my coaches what just happened to me,” said Ellice. “They were like ‘Only in Roseau, Minnesota, can you get in a semi with a random stranger and know that you’re going to make it home.’”

Lee and Ellice met, got acquainted, and Lee even helped her to load her bags into the truck before the two started on the six hour drive to Roseau. 

“I thought it was going to be awkward, but it wasn’t awkward. He was super nice,” said Ellice, commenting on how the pair bonded over hockey – Ellice plays for the University of Vermont and Lee’s four children play as well. 

“We say ‘You call, we haul,’ and when Diane called that day we said yes, we’d take on anything to help anybody out,” said Byfuglien. “We were hauling their precious cargo, which was their daughter, and Alex hurried back,” said Byfuglien.

“I was excited for her to come home and she hadn’t been here last Christmas because of COVID,” said Diane. “I just didn’t want her to end up stuck in the cities for a few more days. I just wanted to get her home.”

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