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Tales of a Hay Hauler: Now the boys have boys

Brad Nelson Published on 28 December 2009

I received instructions the other day to be available by 6:00 Saturday evening for a birthday party for now six-year-old Ashton. There were four generations at the party. Charlie and Lois did the honors as the great-grandparents. Also present were Grandpa Troy, the boom loader, and Grandpa Brad, the old hay hauler, and their respective spouses, to whom the grandchildren are the neatest thing ever to happen.

Just kindly call them something other than “Grandma”. Two uncles, one aunt, and one cousin of the birthday boy rounded out the party, plus his younger sister and brother, and parents.

Among the plunder received was a truck. This was a tractor-trailer combination, designed to haul cars. About a dozen little cars came with. As Ashton wrestled his way through the packaging to get it out, I told him that if he sawed the top off of the trailer, he could use it to haul hay. His father piped up that the boy may just try that. Then we talked about one birthday at which Dan received a toy truck. The very next day when I got home, he proudly showed me what he’d done to it. It had been sawed in half, and the two halves were wired together with a piece of wood 2”x4”, “to make it long enough to haul hay with”. I started to speak, then bit my tongue. I realized that I had never had a truck in my life that had remained like I found it for longer than a couple of days.

When the room emptied to just Dan, I and the younger boy, Luke Oscar (who was just getting the hang of traveling on all fours), Dan told of some of his experiences with his trucks. Dan said that just good old word-of-mouth advertising had done him the best. One lady called and stated that another person had spoken highly of his work, and on that recommendation, she wanted him to bring her a load of horse hay. Dan said he hauls her about four loads a year. The name she mentioned didn’t ring a clear bell, so he finally looked the referral source up in his invoice book. It turned out to be the neighbor of a fellow he’d hauled to. One load there was about a ton of hay more than would go into this fellow’s barn. So the lady across the street took the last ton. Dan was amazed that being congenial while delivering that last ton of hay had generated substantial new business.

Another place, the neighbor wanted about half of one trailer of hay. When they were ready, they walked over to see where it needed to go. The lady with the horses had pallets set out in her yard, for Dan to stack the hay on. As he questioned the lady he found that she really needed it in the barn, which was down a long driveway. She had always moved it herself, since she had been told the hay trucks couldn’t get back there. Dan found it a tight fit, but backed the trailer down the driveway, and unloaded the hay in the barn where it was needed. This person now orders a whole trailer at a time, and has lunch prepared for them when they come with the hay, “adequate for a football team.”

The climate for doing business can often be controlled. Jake, Dan’s brother-in-law, has followed Dan’s example in getting along with people. He said that being patient and friendly, and having an extra Twinkie or handful of cookies has made him the favorite of the fork lift drivers who unload him at the pallet places in Montana. Think about it. If you were driving a fork lift and had your say in it, wouldn’t you go first to the truck whose driver is always pleasant, and sometimes has extra “munchies”? And at a certain café in the same area, they almost always get the pie with meals at no charge.

The waitress there insisted they couldn’t possibly be truck drivers. Why? They were too pleasant, and not at all crude.

Every day can be a good day. And every encounter with another person can be pleasant. The best part is, it doesn’t cost any more.  PD