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Father’s Day tribute: Trucking gave me a special bond with Dad

Fred Echols looks to the camera wearing a U.S. flag hat and wire rimmed glasses

As we celebrate Father’s Day, I wanted to share about the special impact my father has had on me — as a truck driver, and as a person. Hopefully this Father’s Day tribute about my dad helps you reflect on the impact your father has had on you.

I can still remember the reaction I had to my father's suggestion that I go to Schneider’s training in Dallas to learn how to drive a semi-truck. I told him he was crazy to think that I could ever drive such a large vehicle, and all over the country at that. He wanted me to become a Team truck driver with him and it was a good suggestion for a job because I had lost my previous job over two months earlier and was having difficulty finding another one.

I decided to give it a try and put in my application, spoke with a recruiter and started the process. Within about two weeks I had my permit and was in Dallas starting training. I called my father often during this process. I was terrified of the truck and put my trainer through his paces. I finally got the hang of it and passed my test. I wanted my father to be proud of me and I knew he was looking forward to the opportunity to travel the country in the truck with me.

As with all special memories and experiences, I did not realize the weight of what I was learning and sharing with my dad at the time. We would sit in the cab of the truck for hours and he told me stories of his childhood, the romance between him and my mother, philosophies he had determined about life, love and people in general.

We laughed, cried, argued and learned from one another in a way that few fathers and daughters may have had the opportunity to share. If I can tell you one thing about the trucking industry, it is that you will definitely get to know someone when you put them in a truck together.

I developed a bond with my father during this time that is irreplaceable and incredibly special. The lessons he taught me about the trucking industry continue to help me become a better driver. The lessons he taught be about life have helped me become a better human being.

I lost my father four years ago this August and there is not a day that goes by that I don't call on him still. He helps me through difficult times out here on the road — whether it be a tricky dock, tight streets or the industry in general. For better or for worse, he has always been the voice in my head. I love my dad and I’m incredibly grateful for the impact he had on my life.

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About the author
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Christi has been a solo driver in Schneider’s Van Truckload division since Spring 2015, but she was previously a Schneider Team driver with her father. Before driving, Christi was an EMT and Paramedic. Between her stints as a team and solo driver, she held positions in logistics, as a roadie for a local cover band and as a school bus driver. Before returning to driving, she also earned an associate’s degree in culinary arts and a bachelor’s degree in hospitality administration.

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