Many children dream about becoming firefighters, police officers or professional athletes. My dream was to be a truck driver.
Hauling stuff all over the country seemed exciting. The day after I graduated from college, I enrolled at Truck Driver Training School. After six weeks of intense training, I graduated at the top of the six-person class. With my truck driver’s license in hand I began the job search. Before long, I was working for poultry company, hauling eggs all over the province of Saskatchewan.
The people I worked for had two types of trucks. I drove the “tractor trailer,” the typical semi that you see driving down the highway where the truck and trailer are separate. The other truck was all one unit, much like the kind of vehicle you might rent from U-Haul: a truck with a box on the back, no trailer.
One day after arriving back early, the boss asked me to take the other truck to the North farm and pick up a load of eggs. I jumped into the other truck and took off for the North farm. When I arrived, I was the only one there. Everyone else was at lunch. I quickly loaded and headed back to the main farm with my load of eggs.
After arriving at the main farm, I backed up to the loading dock, jumped out of the truck and walked into the warehouse.
At this point in the story, I need to provide you with a few details. The cargo inside a truck will normally move a bit during transport. When I loaded my regular truck, I would put the eggs tight to the driver’s side. It was normal for the load to want to move that direction. By putting the load tight to the driver’s side I could eliminate movement.
When loading this truck that I had not driven before, I assumed that the eggs would want to move the same direction.
Assumptions are not always good.
As it turned out, because of the configuration of this truck, the eggs actually moved in the other direction.
Now, back to the warehouse…
When I opened the loading door to the truck I discovered that three pallets, each with 750-dozen eggs had fallen over. In one five-mile trip, I managed to destroy 27,000 eggs!
I am not sure how many people reading this blog know the “I-am-going-to-get-fired” emotion, but that is what I was experiencing. At that very moment, one of the owners of the company came around the corner and looked in the truck.
As I was preparing to make an excuse, he turned around and looked me in the eyes and said, “I bet you won’t make that mistake again.”
I learned a lesson that day. Our mistakes are very rarely fatal. More often than not, they are opportunities for learning and growth. I never did spill eggs again.
In the years since that incident, I have attempted to model the grace shown to me that day to the people who work with me.
Mistakes and failures have the potential to make us better people.