Trucking Sideways

“The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


The dispatcher in Fort Smith told me to stay put. Told me that the great blizzard of 2011 was about to move through the Midwest and I was supposed to spend the night outside of Nashville. We’d reevaluate in the morning, he said. I parked the rig at the truck stop on Highway 65, went in to get a cup of coffee, went in to call my wife and my girl.

I sat at the bank of pay phones with my Styrofoam cup and dialed home. She asked me whether I’d make it in by morning. I told her that I didn’t know, probably wouldn’t make it to church, don’t wait up, normal trucker speak. I asked her if Tish was still awake. I liked to hear her voice when I was on the road, and she had a spelling test today. She was already asleep, Mags said, but asked if I wanted to wake her. No, I said. Mags said she loved me, told me to be careful, and hung up the phone. My wife is a good woman.

A fog rolled in, sweeping across the parking lot. It was the thick kind, the kind I imagined the devil could ride. I watched out the window as a long black sedan crept in behind the fog. And then another. And another. They’d be going truck-to-truck tonight. With so many drivers stranded, they’d make a killing; they’d print money. Dispatchers in Fort Smith don’t know nothing about this kind of temptation.

One of the girls came in to buy a six pack of beer and some moon pies—as if we were all still little boys so easily bribed. She walked past me, couldn’t have been more than fifteen, a few short years removed from spelling tests and playground games of red-rover. She made her purchase and turned to leave, stopping in front of me.

“They told me to get beer,” she said. “I’ll get more if you want some.” Her eyes looked like black sockets, her hair still wet from a recent shower. She dropped a moon pie, stooped to pick it up. I beat her to it, picked it up, put it in her hands.

“I don’t drink beer no more, girl,” I said. “You know you don’t have to do this.” I said.

“And you don’t have to drive a truck no more, mister,” she responded. She cut eyes at me, turned and left the store and made her way back to the fleet of sedans.

She was far too young for this business, I thought. And so I picked up the phone.

Truckers Against Trafficking Teaser (3min) from iEmpathize on Vimeo.

This post is inspired by some conversations I’ve been having with the folks inolved with the Idea Camp/Orphan Care. Won’t you make plans to come?

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6 Responses to Trucking Sideways

  1. I saw a heartbreaking documentary on these girls, many of them sold into this kind of life. It’s true there’s not just one kind of orphan. Thanks for shining a light on this . . .

    • sethhaines says:

      Not only one kind of orphan… Yes… That’s a right way to say it.

      Scripture teaches that God is the father to the fatherless and defender of the marginalized. Shouldn’t his image bearers be also?

      It’d be a lot easier if it just said “adopt orphans,” but that lacks nuance, i think.

  2. I had no idea about this…oh my. I’m heartbroken for these girls.

    Hope for the hopeless…Jesus for the lost…

    Thank you for sharing this Seth. So wish I could be there with y’all at ideacamp this month.

    • sethhaines says:

      I honestly didn’t know about this either until Mike Rusch sent me the link. Very disturbing. I hope I can be aware to the out of place around me. Maybe I’d see more of the marginalized than I’d like to admit.

  3. Scott says:

    Thanks for sharing this friend. With your comment about being aware…I’ve always felt that (in the same way the girls were taught to fear) it’s ingrained in me to always assume that things are fine with others when I’m out and abou. Sort of a “you’re o.k. I’m o.k.” or “surely not here” mentality…praying for a keen eye so that we might notice when people are out of place or hurting that we might risk asking, or calling, or to be a voice where they don’t have one. Praying…

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