June 16, 2017

For the dads who earn a living behind the wheel, Father’s Day doesn’t always mean gifts and lunch and time with the family. For many, it’s a phone call and quick conversation with the family during a brief stop at some point in the day.

It’s the sacrifice they make in order to provide. And even though it might feel like it sometimes goes unappreciated, that’s not the case. Often, the kids recognize the things that dad is giving up to make a living. Often, they are making sacrifices too, giving up some of the normalcy of life.

Jeremy Bielby is the son of a truck driver. Growing up outside of Syracuse, New York, Jeremy’s dad, Mark, drove regional routes in the northeast, often away from home for a week at a time. His dad now drives up and down the east coast for a large retailer, and Jeremy says that a little bit of age has helped him see that the job his dad does is actually critical.

“The product has to get from point A to point B, and most people take for granted how it gets there,” Jeremy said. “No one recognizes what goes on behind the scenes, so it’s definitely interesting to have first-hand knowledge, knowing how the system works. By the time you or I get to the store, our favorite cereal or juice is in stock on the shelf. No one thinks about how that got there. I guess now I realize that what he is doing is necessary, and I didn’t understand that as a kid.”

As a kid, what Jeremy did understand was that much of the entertaining and chaperoning was left to his mom. Until the summer, that is.

“During the summers, we were able to travel with him on the road,” Jeremy said. “He has a truck with a sleeper, so we would go for about a week at a time. When I was little it was fine, because we could both sleep in the twin sized bed. We’d go for a couple days at a time, then my mom would pick us up at one of the stores when he had a local drop-off. That’s how I travelled the northeast with my dad. We went to New York City, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Boston. It was really good to hang out with him. Since he was on the road so much, it was hard to find time to do things together or just hang out.”

Often, finding time to be with dad required a bit of creativity. Maybe it was a week on the road in the summer. Or it was choosing to celebrate special days when everyone could be together. Or it was also creating their own traditions, like finding a favorite camp and prioritizing time together — even as adults.

“Just last weekend I got to see my dad at a camp we go to regularly,” Jeremy said. “We celebrate Father’s Day early. We were able to find a golf course near the camp. We went out and walked nine holes together and played golf. It was nice to get out and play with him. Since he still drives, I don’t really get to do that. We’ve only played two or three rounds of golf together in my entire life. It was nice to have that time this past weekend. It was really great!”

And that may be the most important thing: making time. Families know that dad is only gone because he’s trying to provide, and that’s something that Jeremy says those dads who drive should remember.

“I know it’s tough during the week when you’re on the road so much, but your family does really care about you and thinks about you every day. It’s tough to raise a kid when you’re on the road, but we appreciate what you do for us.”

Share with us why you drive

As a small tribute to the dads who might not be home for Father’s Day or have missed celebrations in the past, we created a short video. If you like, we hope that you’ll consider sharing on social media with a short explanation about why you drive and who you’re driving for.

Happy Father’s Day, dads.