Featured Canadian Ride of Pride Driver

Darrell Esson

Darrell Esson

Type of driver Canadian Ride of Pride Driver
With Schneider 10 years
Hometown Milton, ON
Miles on the road 578,000
Can't live without Computer

Travel, travel, travel

Schneider’s Canadian Ride of Pride driver, Darrell has completed tours in Cypress, Kosovo and Afghanistan in the Canadian military and traveled through Germany, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia during his leaves. So when it came time to transition to a civilian career, it made sense that Darrell would look to scratch the traveling itch. What Darrell never expected was having the greatest adventure of his life touring North America in a big orange truck.

Life After Army Life

Darrell—a city boy from Toronto, Ontario—had never used a shovel during his childhood, let alone fired a weapon. However, at the young age of 19, he began his professional career as an infantryman in the Canadian Army in 1984.

“No one in my family had been in the military,” recalls Darrell. “But it seemed like a new adventure – a chance to learn new skills and travel the world.”

After living overseas for much of his 21 years in the military, he retired in 2005, longing to tour the United States. He took a year off to travel the U.S. on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, chasing NASCAR and motorcycle bike weeks from Florida to Sturgis and across the country. When he drove into Memphis, Ark., he stopped on an overpass and saw a bunch of bright orange trucks driving in either direction. The sea of orange made a big impact on Darrell. After some research, he learned the trucks belonged to Schneider—and that the truckload carrier was hiring brand new drivers.

Just one month after getting home to Canada, Darrell enrolled in truck driving school. And when he received his CDL, he signed on with Schneider straight away.

From 2006 to 2011, Darrell continued touring the U.S. at the helm of an orange truck as a driver in Schneider’s Over-the-Road division. He especially loved getting down to the southern states in the winter.

“Any opportunity to head south and throw on a pair of shorts was a bonus.”

Embarking on a New Adventure

In 2011, Darrell received a very special honor: He was named the first-ever Canadian Ride of Pride Driver. Truck manufacturer Freightliner has now presented seven of the military-themed tractors to Schneider, the most of any truckload carrier. The truck series is designed to be rolling tributes to members of the North American military – past and present.

This new experience has added a new level of adventure to Darrell’s career with Schneider. The Canadian Ride of Pride is unique in that Darrell spends the winters running Van Truckload and in the summer drives the military-themed tractor across Canada, participating in parades and various military events.

“The job never gets stale,” noted Darrell. “There’s something new to look forward to every day.”

Truer words were never spoken. One week he may be running local, the next traveling to Chicago or Indianapolis and the following weekend attending a Veterans’ event.

“Driving the Ride of Pride means a lot to me,” said Darrell. “I plan extra time for my trips because I never know when a veteran or family member of a veteran will see me and want to share their story with me.”

Darrell always dresses for the occasion, wearing both Schneider and military apparel every day he’s on the job.

“Schneider and the military go hand-in-hand for me,” he emphasized.

We’ve Got Your Six

Although Darrell has a deep love for the diversity and adventure that comes with his job, he has also come to appreciate the training and support Schneider provides.

“I never feel like I’m stuck without an answer or facing a problem I can’t solve,” noted Darrell.

“If there’s an issue with the truck, I have Schneider Emergency Maintenance at my fingertips to provide a mechanic and parts so I can get back on the road. If I’m lost, Schneider provides directions. If I need anything, I can call my driver business leader (DBL).”

“I’m never alone, even when I’m by myself.”

Not Ready to Drive Off Into the Sunset

It should come as no surprise that when Darrell is not driving for the Big Orange, he’s still hittin’ the road. In his spare time, Darrell loves to drive his Harley as a member of the Canadian Army Veteran’s Motorcycle Club.

But with adventure yet to find and so much of the continent to explore, Darrell still feels like he is just getting started in his Schneider career.

“I want to drive as long as possible,” noted Darrell. “Maybe I could move into a DBL or full-time recruiter position…some day. But for now, I just want to keep driving.”

Drive on, Darrell. Drive on.

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