In loving memory of Doris Wells, 1943-2018

Once a Charger, Always a Charger.


This story was originally published on April 18, 2016.

Doris Wells, Copy Clerk, started at the IWX Motor Freight school for truck driving when she was 52 years old. Wells and her husband drove as a team. Each drove five hours at a time and had five hours off.

Despite the grueling hours on the road, there were perks of truck driving.

“I like the freedom of driving a truck. You were in charge of your own time,” Wells said.

Adventures on the road

The company would give Wells a time and destination to be at, and she was in charge of getting herself there.

“I like the responsibility that’s given to you as a truck driver, that they trust you are going to be there when you’re suppose to,” Wells said.

Wells and her husband drove through 48 states, including Canada.

“Our first trip to Canada was with a new truck, which was kind of neat and exciting,” Wells said.

Wells and her husband had many exciting adventures while out on the road.

“I remember going to Nogales [Arizona] one time, and those guys down there, I could hardly understand them. They were nice, and making carne asada that day for their lunch and invited me to come up on the dock and eat with them, and I did. That was fun,” Wells said.

I like the responsibility that’s given to you as a truck driver, that they trust you are going to be there when you’re suppose to.”

— Doris Wells

Along with the many adventures, there were some setbacks of trucking.

“The hours of driving [were the hardest part]. You can’t always go to sleep on command. There were times when you would start your next shift and you didn’t get that many hours of sleep,” Wells said.

However, with driving team, Wells and her husband were able to switch on and off, and take extra shifts if needed.

“If you are driving in a husband and wife team, if you are took tired and need a little bit more rest, he was always lenient enough to drive a little over his shift in order [for you to sleep]. We did that for each other, we were able to help each other on our shifts,” Wells said.

Wells was also fortunate enough to have only one flat tire in her entire trucking experience.

“I remember I was driving one day near Tucumcari, New Mexico; driving along, listening to the radio, all of a sudden there was a big pop and I thought somebody had shot a gun, which scared me to death,” Wells said. “What it was, I had a tire that had blown out and thank goodness it was on my trailer because if it’s on your trailer, it’s not going to cause you to have a wreck; you can keep driving just as long as it’s not on the truck part. That was the only time I had a flat, so that part was pretty good.”

Wells remembers driving through the mid-west and seeing snow over the guard-rails on the freeway.

“What they call going across the top is through the Dakota’s, Wyoming and Montana, and it was winter time. We were going to California. I had never seen snow that deep in all my life; it was up over the fence. I can’t remember the name, in Montana I believe it was, but they had shut down the roads. They had these gate things that go across. We sat in the truck for two days before they opened the highway up again because the snow was so deep. I’ve never experienced anything like that… I was just fascinated with all the snow,” Wells said.

‘I’ve always loved my job here’

Wells and her husband quit driving cross-country and took local jobs driving belly dumps. A belly dump is a construction truck that carries dirt and instead of dumping its load out of the tail, it has doors on the bottom to dump its load out of the bottom. Wells took it as a summer job and her husband took it as a full time job.

“He had gotten a local job driving belly dumps. I was working at the school and I was out for the summer. His boss said ‘why don’t you have your wife come over and teach her how to drive a belly dump.’ I then got called back to the school and decided I wanted to come back here to work,” Wells said.

Wells started working at McClintock in 1996, in the maintenance department as the matron. In 1997, the principal, Dan Serrano, asked Wells to set up the Copy Technician job and maintain it.

“I’ve always loved my job here, and I love the people I work with. McClintock employees are my family,” Wells said.

Wells has had students ask her about her truck driving experiences.

“You know what’s funny is when boys come in and bring stuff for the teachers that need copying, they see these trucks here and they say ‘You really drove a truck?’ and I say ‘Yeah, I really drove a truck!’,” Wells said