Line One
Roses & Razzberries

Biting the hand that feeds you? RAZZBERRIES to the two policemen who were suspended in the eastern Indian city of Calcutta after one of them allegedly bit the hand of a truckdriver who refused to pay a bribe. According to Reuters, a police official said the incident occurred after two officers pulled over the truckdriver for a routine check. The news service quotes the Calcutta Police as saying, “It seems the police driver was desperate to extract money (a bribe) from the truckdriver. The policeman went berserk when the truckdriver didn’t cooperate and they got into a scuffle.”

This RAZZ is for you, Miller. In March, Miller Brewing Co. began airing a commercial depicting a stranded motorist flagging down a trucker for a lift. While the pair makes their way into town, viewers see the overweight trucker, steering wheel digging into his belly, as a ventriloquist. The sideshow act scares the hitcher who leaps from the moving rig. The next scene shows the hitcher enjoying a cold one in a bar with friends, recounting the freaky occurrence. Next, we see the truck rolling down the road with the sound of the dummy shrieking repeatedly “are we there yet?” RAZZBERRIES for this tired depiction of truckers. This is an American Beer Commercial, for cryin’ out loud!

A TV commercial on cable TNT in Knoxville, TN, provoked OOIDA member Chuck Boyd to nominate a local attorney for aRAZZBERRY. Bill Holtz & Associates’ air copy reads, “Trucks may think they own the road, but they don’t own the courthouse.” Who does, Chuck?

RAZZBERRIES to National Carriers for their ad in February’s Roadstar magazine. The ad features comparison of incomes sure to make you join the Elite Fleet. The ad stacks up an o-o’s annual pay ($110,000) alongside a stock broker ($91,000), a computer programmer ($90,000), a veterinarian ($95,000), a lawyer ($105,000). The ad says it’s “really that simple.” We missed the line that should have said “Owner-operators with IQs above 40 need not apply.” (We did like the guy that was supposed to be the successful o-o. Black pleated pants, purple silk shirt, Brad Pitt face. Charp, man, charp.)

ROSES to the New York State Bridge Authority for its electronic information board over both ends of the Newburgh/Beacon Bridge in NY. The sign has had two pro-trucking messages in the past few months. They have a new program of positive information on the boards that appears to change weekly. One of the messages reads, “Through hard work and dedication, truckers link our nation together.”

ROSES to Jonathan Wade, a trucker who managed to get a 3-year-old to the hospital when helicopters and ambulances couldn’t. The toddler needed emergency surgery. Wade needed to get from Trinity Medical Center in Rock Island, IA, to University Hospital in Iowa City. But the biggest snowstorm of the winter had grounded medical helicopters and turned back ambulances. The boy’s mother called on her brother-in-law, a fleet manager for Wenger Truck Lines in Davenport, for help. Wade made the 60-mile trip — slowly — with the toddler and his parents riding in the sleeper. “There were so many accidents,” said the boy’s father. “We were scared to death.” A Tipton city ambulance manned by volunteers and Iowa State Patrol troopers met the rig at Exit 271 on I-80, and took the family by ambulance for the final leg of the journey. The surgery was a success.

OOIDA board member John Taylor, Cross Junction, VA, awards a ROSE to the trucker-friendly Good Nite Inn in Barstow, CA, which now has a Commercial Driver Rewards Program. John stays there frequently and recently got a letter of thanks, offering him a discount on his choice of rooms at the GNI Barstow or Salinas. But what John liked was the typed P.S. from the general manager, who asked “Were you ever a wide out for the 49ers?” (No, he wasn’t.)

Kevin Tucker, a driver for Albany, OR-based Cascade Express deserves ROSES for his pre-dawn rescue of a woman from her submerged car. Tucker was driving near the I-5 interchange when he saw the car lose control on a curve, roll and land upright in a pond. Tucker parked so his lights shown on the car and waded into the water to the rescue. Both the woman and Tucker struggled to get her seatbelt unbuckled while holding her head above water. Once she was free, he helped her to his cab and called 9-1-1.