Ready for life’s next adventure
Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?
For Lucy Hulon it’s certainly not the case. The 71-year-old Godwin resident recently graduated from Roadmaster Drivers School in Dunn and began putting her newly-acquired skills to use for U.S. Express.
“I had retired and I got tired of sitting around home waiting to die,” she said. “It was kind of a bucket list, it’s one thing I had never done in my life.”
Her past life experiences are a far cry from the smell of diesel and the sound of 18 wheels clamoring along the highway. She worked as a meat cutter, school bus driver and helped her husband, Butch, restore cars.
“I’ve been active in everything,” she said. “So sitting around home just killed me because cars have gotten where they’re hard to work on so I’ve left that up to my husband now.”
Her husband told her to do what makes her happy, so she walked into the doors of the Roadmaster school and the rest was history. It took her the usual six weeks to complete training, not without asking for a little help to overcome some rough spots.
She credits one of the instructors at the school — Michael Reaves — for showing her how to properly back a truck at two different angles.
“You’ve got to do a 90-degree backing and a 45 and I was having a little trouble,” she said. “I asked Mr. Reaves would you please come across the road and show me what you think I need to improve on or what I’m doing wrong.”
Her request got an immediate response, the instructor gladly gave her some extra help and advice to get the rest of the way through the course.
“He walked over there with me and showed me one time,” she said. “I put it in there, had no trouble.”
Mrs. Hulon said she wants to see others follow in her footsteps, especially those in the later stages of life who are just sitting around waiting for the inevitable to happen. She believes everyone has something more inside them if they’ll just get out and bring it out.
“What I’m trying to do is to encourage people not to let age or gender or anything else stand in the way,” she said. “If they’ve got something they want to do before the end, then do it, do it, don’t let others stop you.”
One thing is for sure, age didn’t seem to play a role in whether or not she got her first driving job with U.S. Express, more so than with the parent company of Roadmaster, Werner Enterprises.
That’s where her past came back to haunt her so to speak. Many years ago Mrs. Hulon said she had to use a c-pap machine to prevent sleep apnea. It was for those reasons Werner Express gave her what she felt like was the runaround before hiring her.
“Werner never gave me a chance to come home and get the doctor to document that I didn’t need it,” she said. “They dismissed me before I ever got back with the paper.”
Her next stop was with U.S. Express who gave her the opportunity to present all she needed to get hired.
“I had everything, all my ducks in a row,” she said. “They were tickled to get me.”
Mrs. Hulon put a lot of doubters to the ground when she walked into the DMV and walked out with her Class A Commercial Driver’s License. Even her family expressed some concern she would finish the course successfully.
“A lot of my family didn’t think I’d ever complete it because it’s not easy, really it’s not, I had to work hard for this,” she said. “If I can, anybody else can.”
One of the best examples of her determination to complete the course came early on when a fellow student, many years her junior, challenged her by expressing a belief Mrs. Hulon wouldn’t be around for graduation.
“If you want me to do something, tell me I can’t,” she said. “She said I’ll bet you $100 you’ll never put that truck in an alley dock. I said bring it on babe.”
The irony of it all, the young girl was dropped from the course because she couldn’t do what she had challenged Mrs. Hulon to do.
“She got kicked out of school because she couldn’t do it,” Mrs. Hulon said. “So needless to say I never got the $100, but that was OK and I’m sorry she didn’t pass.”
While she admits just passing the course was a bucket list item, Mrs. Hulon says the future and all it holds is a part of the same list. She has already traveled across several states and as far as Maine to the north and Kansas to the west, all while still in her training.
“It will probably be the last job I’ll ever have,” she said. “I’m going team for a while, then I’m thinking about coming home and driving something local because I’ve got grandkids, I’ve got a husband.”
For now, Mrs. Hulon will just enjoy what she’s earned and make her way into the logbooks as just another driver.
“As long as I’m physically fit and I feel like doing it, I’m going to do it,” she said. “All people should do that. I mean I could not stand to stay home anymore. I don’t mind doing housework, I used to tend garden and work in the shop, but I got burnt out on it and I wanted to do something different. So I fell into this.”
-The Daily Record