Randy's Truck Driving School - Day 12

by rbradyjohnsen

Wow, what a day. I stayed up all night to email some last-minute requested unemployment records (not available until 6 am) to Randy's recruiter. I had only slept for about an hour when he called the first time. He was so nervous and edgy, which made me very uneasy, and made me wonder if he was beginning to come unglued? This time, before he hung up, he didn't say "o.k., o.k., see ya"...he said "o.k., o.k., thank you". ;)

My heart just about stopped when he called back nearly 4 hours later...he did it!. Not only did he pass, he got the best score of anyone he had talked to (later found out he was only 2nd best). One of the guys came by and gave him a fist-bump and I heard him say, "you're the man"! Phew, now I can breath again, at least for a while. Any crying I do today will be tears of relief, for now.

Even if he had flunked out of there, I would be glad to have him home...and we're used to constantly re-thinking our plans. He keeps telling me, "we're not out of the woods yet, one little screw-up and I'm outta here". At least we can relax for a few days. This weekend, both days, there is some kind of orientation, then a day off Monday, and Tuesday is graduation day.

I am sooo proud of him. And I think this will do wonders for his confidence. He dropped out of high school right at the end (later got a GED). And his 30-year class reunion was the very day he left on the bus for school. Dropping out and giving up has always bothered him, so successfully making it through this (so far) was more important to him than most people realize, for so many reasons.

Here's the rest of the day:

- Nearly everyone left there passed their test as well, some just barely. Randy celebrated with lunch with his buddies, then a nap before a safety meeting. At the meeting, he found out that his class, which is the biggest in 9 months, is also the only class in 9 months to have 100% of the (remaining) students achieve their class A CDL's on the first try, so they're feeling pretty special. I don't have exact numbers, but it sounds like fewer than 1/2 of his original class, from the very first day, have made it through.

- In spite of all they've accomplished, most of the guys are still "plagued by the fear of being sent home" (Randy's exact words). Three more guys were kicked out today, two because discrepancies about their criminal histories or driving records are still being discovered. One was asked to leave because he has been running around saying he didn't really want to work there, just wanted his CDL (at least that was the rumor).

- There is an absolutely absurd rumor (for several days now) that anytime you are out on the road for 3 weeks or more, you can demand a plane ticket home for a break. Where do they get this stuff??? Sounds silly to me, but I wish it was true. ;)

It was an emotional roller-coaster of a day, but Randy is so excited (he called me 4 times!) about what he's accomplished so far and so thrilled about the prospects of what will come next. But we still have a long way to go, and I miss him more each day.

Ah, that's too sad, so here's one of the silly things I miss about having him around. Randy likes to eat in bed, and I'm used to waking up with everything from chips to popcorn or little pieces of chocolate stuck to me...Ick! It's got me wondering, since he is on an upper bunk there, if the guy below is getting any unintended snacks. He really is a goofball!


Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
by Brett Aquila

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