Headlights, Camera, Action

Rick E.’s trucking career sounds like something taken from a movie. But when you’ve saved a man from choking to death and met the love of your life on the side of a highway, that’s to be expected. Over the years, he’s seen a lot of miles and a lot of changes, but all it takes is a brief chat with the trucking veteran to know that he’s far from his final act.

Just looking at him, you get the feeling he was plucked straight from a John Wayne film. As if, despite the years passed, he’s a classic relic of an era gone by living in our modern world. And you’d be right. “Technology is taking over the world nowadays, but I keep it old-school.” The sly grin that plays across his face is just downright cool. His style is such that he could say anything and make it sound like sage wisdom. His pauses are long and dramatic, which only serve to amplify the effect.

When he talks about love, it’s as if he’s reading from a script, but in the most genuine sort of way. He remembers the exact moment he met his current wife, literally down to the mile marker. “January 13, 2001, 1:30 a.m., mile marker 245, on I-80 West in the middle of a snowstorm,” he rattles off without pause. “That’s where we met.” Always the gentleman, he had stopped on the side of the road to help pull a car from a ditch. When his wife stopped as well to lend a hand, he looked at her, tipped his hat and the rest is history.

Today, the only regret he carries with him is not seeing his family enough. But life on the road will do that to you. He loves his wife. He loves his kids. He loves his grandkids. They’re what keeps him going after all these years. “I just take every day as it comes,” he says, “live and love and enjoy what you do, because you never know when your time is up.” His parting words seem to sum up the meaning of life itself. And as he walks back to his rig, sun going down behind the tree line, it’s impossible to see him as anything but an old-school cowboy riding off into the sunset.