Intermodal driver Ben retired from J.B. Hunt this past July and credits Mr. Hunt for his successful career in trucking. “Thank you, Mr. Hunt, for 24 fantastic years. I tried to do it your way and I’ll encourage anybody else to do it your way because it works,” he said. “You make friends with the customer with a hand shake…If I had a set appointment, I was there early… I’ve always considered that on time is late.”
And doing it Mr. Hunt’s way helped Ben reach three million safe miles, although he may not have taken notice of his miles right away. “My first million, I got a phone call from my fleet manager – call me. My first thought was, now what did I do? And the phone call was congratulations,” he said with a smile. “And basically, it worked out that way with the second million. The third million, I was starting to watch.”
With every million safe miles that he achieved, Ben received safety bonuses that he didn’t hesitate in putting to good use. “The first bonus, I took my wife and myself to Alaska for two weeks. The second bonus, the two million mile bonus, we took our granddaughters to Disney World for a week….My third million, my wife got her wish. She always wanted to take the family on a family cruise… We had eight of us that went on a cruise. We had a riot,” he said.
Throughout his 24-year driving career, Ben experienced J.B. Hunt’s advancement in innovation, safety and operation diversity. “J.B. has just grown and grown and grown, but our management hasn’t distanced themselves from the drivers. The drivers are still number one and I love it,” he said. ““We have apps for everything on the phone… and there are more apps coming. If the guys knew today how lucky they are! If I was 15 years younger, I wouldn’t be leaving. But I’ll be 70, it’s time to walk away.”
Walking away and retiring leave a bittersweet feeling with Ben. “It’s going to be fun finding out what it’s like,” he said. “I’ll miss the companionship. I’ve had my fleet manager in Kansas City for 18 years. We’ve become very tight, very bonded… Everybody at J.B., they have always been there… It hasn’t hit yet, it will.”