Monday, February 26, 2024
Photo: "Cup-o-ya-coffee" Mike Murchison
On the Road with Mike MurchisonTrucking

Some heroes deliver coffee

No drive-thru, no asphalt, no points club, no granite counter tops, no piped in music ,
no uniformed staff with name tags, no fancy logo.
Just one of the best truck stops on the continent.
Photo: Mike Murchison

The New Year often brings a slowdown in life….and in business. It’s the nature of many economies.

Most companies have bought and received all their year end inventory, so the first quarter spending slows down. The task of selling starts all over, but at a slower pace due to the fact that consumers are dealing with the Christmas spending hangover.

But none the less, in a small town out in the Southwest corner of Montana, she still wakes up at 5:30 in the morning. Crawls out of bed stumbles to the door and lets her little dog out for its  morning business.

It’s tough getting up in the darkness. Starting the engine on a cold car. Brushing off the snow. Not something people like to do, but it must be done.

The drive to the truck stop is 20 minutes on a combination of two lane, gravel and a short jaunt on what could only be called a goat trail.

It’s her job to open the truck stop. Turn on the lights, fire up the grill, make the big pot of coffee. Then do the waiting on the customers who wander in sometime after 7am.

Truckers, a few locals, and the occasional traveler who is just passing through on the way to someplace else.

She’s been doing this job for nearly four years, and she’s just shy of her 25th birthday.

I’ve often wondered but never asked why isn’t she off in the big city. Why isn’t she in college or university? What would keep a young lady full of promise here in this small town working at a truck stop?

I don’t know. Maybe one day I’ll ask her. I realize not everyone gets to go to college or university. Not every life is planned from the start. Things happen. Doors open….and doors close.

This week’s temperatures out west were, to say the least, inhuman. Minus 45 degrees, and lower in some places. Many things were cancelled. Schools closed, folks called into their jobs in order to stay at home.

Yet out here, where the wind and the wind chill can rule with an iron fist, she showed up every  morning to open the truckstop, fire up the grill and brew the coffee.

She said things were slow; not much business. But she opened up because the owner asked her if she would. She could’ve said “No” and it would’ve been okay.

But maybe, somewhere inside, something told her that somebody the needed the place to be open. Not for profit, but for that tired, cold trucker or traveler who had been fighting the cold, breakdowns and weariness of a very unforgiving week.

Her job is not glamorous.  Most likely doesn’t pay well and I don’t suppose it was her life-long ambition to work in a small town truck stop.

Yet, for myself and countless other truckers, to know that she pulled herself out of bed on everyone of those extremely cold mornings it meant something.

Yeah! Heroes don’t always wear capes and fight the bad guys.

No, many of them just serve coffee and keep the lights on….