Schneider team driver Denise Smith has a special connection with the kindergarten class at the Marlow Elementary School in Guyton, Georgia – she’s their official Trucker Buddy. Denise sends the class weekly postcards from stops along her various routes, and she’s even been able to stop by twice for an in-person visit. In return, she receives a packet from the class teacher, Ms. Holly McNally, which includes notes and drawings the children have made. “Seeing their drawings and the messages they send, that warms my heart,” says Denise.
In January, the kids had a special treat. When Denise stopped by for a visit she was joined by Bernard Johnson and his Ride of Pride tractor, Victory. The kids enjoyed seeing the patriotic decals and learning a little about the veterans who inspired them. While most of the kids would have loved to take the real truck home, Bernard wasn’t willing to part with Victory; so, the kids received their very own “squishy” truck instead!
Not surprisingly, the questions the kids ask most often are, “What is it like to sleep in the truck?” and “How long are you away from home?” Denise explains, “I love being part of the program. I think it’s so important for the kids to understand what an important role truck drivers play in the world and what the job is like. I also think it is good for them to see that both men and women can be truck drivers, and that life on the open road can be really fun sometimes.”
Ms. McNally is grateful for the experience it provides the kids; she says, “I would like to thank Denise and Bernard for visiting our school. The students enjoyed learning about the truck and the profession of truck driving.” That’s great to hear – we hope there are some future truck drivers in the bunch!
This article was originally featured in Schneider's publication, "The Extra Mile" and has been shared with permission.