Mexican Trucks – They’re here! They’ve been here, Get used to it!

2001 Kenworth/Kenmex - American truckers can't tell the difference
I was coming out of Houston yesterday and was passed by a truck that caught my eye. The brand on the hood was KENWORTH/KENMEX. Nothing extraordinary about the truck other than it was a Mexican manufactured Kenworth. The business on the side showed it to be out of Georgia. Nothing out of the ordinary except for the KENMEX label.

Later on in the evening, pulling into the Love’s in Iowa, Louisiana, i pulled into the pump, stopped and noticed to my left the same truck that had passed me earlier. The driver, just arriving minutes before me was sitting at the wheel doing his log book.

Getting a closer look at the truck as I sat there, I noticed that despite all the chrome and chicken lights, it was an older truck, a 2001 Kenworth, but you couldn’t tell it from looking at it. And sure enough, it had a business name on the side out of the Atlanta area. But looking closer I noticed something else that would escape many people.

THIS WAS ONE OF THOSE “UNSAFE” MEXICAN TRUCKS DRIVEN BY AN UNQUALIFIED MEXICAN DRIVER!! Well, at least that is how James Hoffa or Todd Spencer would describe it.

I’m out pumping the fuel and getting the kinks out. My bony ass can’t stay in the saddle as long as it used to, when the driver of this rig comes around on the passenger side of his rig.

We exchange nods and after he gets his fuel flowing, I venture over to talk with him. He seems startled and a little wary at first, understandable, and admits he doesn’t speak good English. I counter that my Spanish sucks so in that, we find common ground and it breaks the ice so to speak. It also helps, as I discover, that he lives in the Monterrey suburb of San Nicholas de la Garza, which is next to the suburb I live in. And we come to find out we have mutual acquaintances in Cadeyreta NL where the trucks owner is based.

I asked him did he have any trouble with other drivers resenting his presence in the US. He said he hadn’t and had not had problems with the DOT or other law enforcement. With his limited English, he didn’t appear to have any problem completing the fuel transaction nor ordering and receiving his order at the Hardee’s inside the truck stop.

We chatted a few more moments, beginning what I hope to be a long friendship that we can continue in Monterrey. A really nice guy. Professional, well groomed and likeable once he got over his initial hesitation.

I followed him down the road until he, having a faster truck and an early delivery in Atlanta, disappeared on down I-10, twin exhausts blowing clean, no smoke, turn signals used when changing lanes etc. A contrast to a couple of American large cars pulling RGN running in the left lane a foot of the bumpers of a couple of 4 wheelers who wouldn’t get out of their way.

And memories of this encounter came to mind later in the evening, especially while listening to ATN and Bubba Bo as he allowed a caller, a small minded little man who considers himself a character out of Star Wars, babbled for 15 minutes showing his ignorance of Mexico, Mexican trucks, their drivers and haranguing the listeners of the conspiracy he sees behind the US fulfilling their obligations under NAFTA.

Most importantly of all though, in my opinion, is truckers on the road, in the truck stop and on the fuel islands, didn’t realize or care that this was a real Mexican truck and trucker, something they have been taught to fear and mistrust. It simply went over their heads or it simply was not an issue. This Mexican trucker was no different than any of us.

Even standing inside of Hardee’s waiting for our orders to go and speaking in fractured Spanish and English, the coonasses coming in and out didn’t give us a second glance. It simply isn’t an issue.