I just thought a highway was a certain route and you just kept going straight! Well, turns out I was wrong and we were about 100 miles out of route.
He was slightly irked for a moment I could tell but he didn't say much of anything. He just looked at the map and found us a new route. It took us a bit longer to get there, but we were there plenty early for our appointment the next morning. Job successfully completed, no harm done, and a lesson well learned.
He knew little mistakes like that were common with new drivers and the whole thing was forgotten. I was glad for that.
The next day I still felt bad and so I voluntarily took his cleaning supplies and thoroughly cleaned the entire inside of the truck while he was inside the truck stop showering. He was pleasantly surprised when he returned to find his truck spotlessly clean and I explained how much I appreciated his patience.
He said not to think anything of it, that of all of the serious things that can go wrong out here, to go a little bit off course was no concern to him whatsoever. Man was I relieved.
The next incident came at a drive-thru truck wash at one of our terminals in the Midwest. It was a narrow passage and I was driving through it and veered a bit off course, scraping the steps on the side of the truck against the guide rail. OH NO WHAT HAVE I DONE NOW???? Well, he looked at it, laughed a bit, and said not to worry about it. They would fix it up quick. So I drove it over to our shop and they just bent the step back into place. Again, another minor incident but my trainer handled it much better than I. Patience is everything when you're teaching someone something, let me tell ya! Incident forgotten.
The next event that stands out in my mind wasn't a screw up on my part this time. Instead it was a hard lesson on the harsh realities of the road. A lesson I would never forget.
I was sleeping while he was driving and woke up when I noticed he was stopping. I asked if we were done driving and he said no that there was an accident ahead. I came up into the front seat and saw all the emergency lights flashing in the night sky. As we got up to it we noticed there was only one car pulled off to the side but a lot of police and fire trucks blocking the right lane. We soon saw why... there was a bunch of debris in the road. As we came along side of it we saw a sneaker on the road and a piece of clothing. What we saw next was beyond belief.... it looked as if a deer had been hit and splattered into bloody chunks all over the road.
But that wasn't a deer...it was a person.
Welcome to life on the road. A deafening silence had came over us. We drove silently for about half an hour and he pulled off to go to sleep. We didn't really talk about it much after that.
We didn't really need to.