The United States would not be where it is today without trucking. Every sector of our economy–from healthcare and retail, to manufacturing and food and agriculture – relies on trucking and more than 3.4 million professional truck drivers. In fact, eighty percent of  U.S. communities depend solely on truck transportation for the delivery of goods. We too often take for granted the people directly involved in helping us maintain our quality of life. It’s important to recognize these men and women behind the wheel because they are literally driving the nation forward.

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week was established in 1988 to do just that, and this year it’s being celebrated from September 13th to 19th. Instead of thanking professional truck drivers from a distance, we headed over to Pilot Travel Center off of Statesville Avenue in Charlotte, North Carolina, to hand out some Volvo Trucks gear. It was awesome to see Volvo Trucks so well represented at the truck stop. Our signature grille slash dominated the parking lot, which made it easy to spot Volvo drivers.

We talked to several individuals, each with a unique personality and background. Jim Whitelely, for example, is an owner-operator based out of Spokane, Washington. He and his wife travel together delivering goods across the country and they were resting in Charlotte, awaiting instructions on the next delivery. He let us know that they recently ordered a new VNL 730 and can’t wait to get behind the wheel.

All of the professional drivers were totally unsuspecting, which speaks to the humility it takes to do one of America’s toughest jobs. It was great to meet new friends and give away some t-shirts, hoodies and watches they’ll be able to use for many miles to come.

You never know who you’ll run into while you’re fueling up.