Many women truck drivers and I have talked about the problems we face when trying to get served a meal at a truck stop. But the problems don't seem to stop there. It seems that women in general have problems getting served regardless of whether or not they are truck drivers, even at regular restauants.
One night when I had finished with traffic counts, before I had become a truck driver, I decided to eat at this nice place and have a good sit down, home cooked meal. I walked in and took a table as instructed. For 30 minutes people came in and ordered while the staff kept looking at me, but I never got waited on. Others around me got their food and ate, and still they kept watching me. Finally I had enough and walked to the door. The greeter asked me if everything was ok with the meal. I let her have it and reminded her that she was one of the ones who kept walking by me too. I left without the meal I was looking forward to and ended up at a fast food place again. There are many examples of this being done to me and to others that I have witnessed.
Now on to the trucking part of trying to eat. When I do enter the For Professional Drivers Only section in my uniform no less, and take a table, a waitress almost always comes to me and asks me to leave because it is for Professional Drivers Only. I ask her if she thinks I wear this uniform for kicks and why aren't you saying anything to those two men who just sat down? They look like they just came out of the barnyard from doing chores?? And if sometimes we get a little bit taken off of our bill for being a professional driver, often times it is not done to the woman's bill. I asked my server about this and was asked "Are you a truck driver?"
"No, I just wear this uniform for pleasure."
After this is done to you several times you pay attention and watch what happens to others as you sit there and wait. And if you do get waited on ASAP and given your food ASAP, then there is another problem. The server will not come back to see if you need more water or anything else you may want.
On day I decided to stop again at a fast food joint on I80 in Illinois on my way to Chicago. It's a good place to stop since they have parking for tractor trailers. On this day I followed two other truckers in who had been talking on the CB and the comments they made implied they were new to this area and they decided to stop at the same place. At the counter they placed their order and I placed mine. As I reach for my money so that it was ready when my food arrived, I hear their waitress say, "Here is your order, and with your trucker discount your bill is___." I looked at my server and asked "Does this price include my trucker discount?" Again I get the "Are you a truck driver?"
"No, I just wear this uniform for everyone's amusement. Why did you give these 2 strangers a trucker's discount when you have no proof they drive a truck, and I'm in uniform and you ignore me? And on top of that, I've been stopping in here at least 3 times a week!"
While I was having my tantrum, I see that the fry person is bagging my order and she filled that sack half full of fries for me to make up for the treatment I was given. I got my discount, the extra fries, and out the door I went.
I do not understand this kind of treatment. I always wear a clean uniform to be professional and this is the treatment I get? Does the public not understand that women drive trucks too??
One day I pulled up to my shipper and stopped in front of this huge window. The office staff watched me get out of the truck and when I walked in I said hello to all and signed in at the counter where the truckers sign in. One of the staff told me not to do that because it's for truck drivers only. I was dumbfounded for a few seconds, and then my blood pressure started going up. I really wanted to say something! I didn't say what I had wanted to say, but I did say in a very nice tone, "You watched me get out of the truck from the drivers seat. I am here to get my load."
These are a few examples of what has happened to me in the last 20 years both before I drove a truck and after I became a truck driver. I found myself asking other single women drivers if I could join them for a meal so we can get waited on and make new friends. This was never a problem for me when I did this because the women I asked all wanted to eat and be waited on too. In time, after more money started coming in, I bought a lunch box cooker and re-heated the meals I had made at the house because it was cheaper than eating out.