We all know that long haul truckers spend a lot of time away from home. It goes with the territory but how many people give a thought to what the family – and especially the wife/ mom – faces at home while the husband/dad is out on the road.
FleetWatch editor Patrick O’Leary picked up on a note written by Nelmari Saaiman, wife of long-haul truck driver James Saaiman, which touched deeply. They have three kids. We traced Nelmari and I spoke to her. She was pretty emotional and started crying on the phone. My heart went out to her and her family. We had a good chat and I asked if I could publish what she had written. She gave me permission and I asked her to send me pictures of her family, which she did. They are featured here along with her touching thoughts and plea for all to please give consideration to the truck drivers of South Africa.
I hope it gives all our readers some insight into what the wives and kids of truck drivers deal with on a daily basis. And I hope it serves as a prompt to those companies which keep truckers waiting for hours at the back-door to load and off-load. Such companies are not only depriving the trucking company of revenue but also depriving kids/wives of quality time with their dads/husbands. We also urge trucking bosses to try scheduling as much time as they can for drivers to spend time at home with their families. Here, in Nelmari’s words, is how she lives life with a truck driver husband. FleetWatch salutes you Nelmari, as we do your husband James. And give those kids of yours a big hug from all of us at FleetWatch.
“At night it’s hard to fall asleep because you worry for the safety of your three babies. Alone at home with your babies, you rather stay awake to make sure they are safe. Eventually you fall asleep.
“Early morning, you wake up and wonder about the safety of your husband and if he survived the night. You send a quick “good morning” message to him and jump in the shower. You then wake the kids, get them dressed, serve breakfast and make coffee for yourself. While they eat, you pack their lunches and then make sure they brush their teeth and do their hair and you pack the school bags.
“They ask when will daddy be home and “will he come to my game tomorrow?” I tell them that daddy will be back later today after a week on the road and you are just as excited as they are! “And yes he won’t miss your game baby.” Kids are all in the car and you’re on the way to school when you realise your coffee is still on the kitchen counter, untouched.
“You drop off the kids, go to the office and fortunately, you work half day on a Friday. You leave the office at 12pm and daddy is home! He then informs you that he’s got a load again and has to leave at 2pm. At 1pm you pick up the kids and daddy gets ready to leave. “But what about my game daddy?” the one child asks. “Maybe next time my baby.” Daddy leaves with tears in his eyes and baby cries because daddy has disappointed – again. Mommy has to comfort the kid and will have to go to the game alone. I miss my husband every day and to see him so little is very hard. I see how he feels when he hears about a milestone being reached that he missed – again.
He has the most difficult job in the world so I want to ask you today, please have respect for all truck drivers. They are driving far and are away from home for long periods of time to get food on the supermarket shelves or get fertilizer to the farmers who need to plant the food you eat. And they have a wife crying for her babies at home and they have kids with games on a Saturday that they miss.
“They miss their children’s first words, their first steps, their first time swimming without water wings…and they do this for you, for South Africa. All I ask is some patience and respect for our truckers. I miss you every moment James Saaiman. May God bless and protect you each kilometre you have to drive. I love you unconditionally and the kids also miss you. We will always love you!”