Amber is enjoying an unusually slow day when Howard stops by to say hello. Amber is the HR director for a company that provides transportation services for musical acts. Howard is one of her favorite drivers because he’s done it all.
Howard started driving big rigs when they were still powered by gasoline. Over a 30-year career he’s driven flatbed, vans, tankers, and refrigerated or “reefer” vans. A few years ago, Howard retired from driving big rigs but was soon bored sitting at home. So he signed up to drive a tour bus.
Howard takes the world as it comes, never getting too upset by what happens around him. But he doesn’t take any guff from anyone. That includes not allowing anyone to endanger his commercial driver’s license (CDL). Normally, that wouldn’t be a problem but today he’s telling Amber that his most recent assignment came close.
Howard says the band arrived at the pickup point in a Cadillac convertible. Five guys with beards, long hair and tattoos crawled out of the Caddy, toting their musical instruments. A couple of them had hand-rolled cigarettes, reminding Howard of another definition of the term “reefer”.
As the band stowed their gear and instruments, Howard was approached by the lead singer, Bill. Bill said the “boys” enjoy a little recreational smoking each day, and he wanted to make sure that Howard is “cool” with it. Howard replied that if anyone smells or sees contraband on the bus, he could lose his CDL because as the driver he is responsible for everything happening on the bus.
Of course, Howard remembered some of the crazy things he did as a young driver. Some of his adventures can never be repeated if he wants his children and grandchildren to continue to respect him. So he proposed a solution to Bill.
Howard offered to stop the bus whenever the band requested a break. Howard didn’t want to know why. He would simply pull off the interstate and drive the bus to a discreet location. He also suggested that when the boys got off the bus, they should walk around the corner where Howard couldn’t see them.
Howard reports to Amber that the process worked brilliantly for the entire tour. The band was happy and even treated the process like a game. Howard was happy because his CDL wasn’t endangered.
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