September 13, 2021

Truck Driver Appreciation: 5 Ways to Thank a Trucker

Truck driver appreciation takes center stage each September, with trucking companies, trade associations, retailers and Americans from all walks showering truckers with grace and gratitude.

Transporting nearly 12 billion tons of goods, supplies and equipment along U.S. highways is a big job that demands a big celebration. That's why the industry reserves an entire week in mid-September to recognize the 3.5 million men and women who transport trillions of dollars in goods along U.S. highways.

In 2021, National Truck Driver Appreciation Week runs September 12–18, but efforts to recognize these essential workers often span the entire month. At JLE, we view truck driver appreciation as a year-round effort. Truckers keep our economy moving, and the COVID-19 pandemic underscored their critical role in the supply chain. Their dedication was met with widespread appreciation.

The focus on thanking truckers hits a fever pitch in September. Truck stops like Love's, Flying J and TA run special deals, and the American Trucking Associations promotes handpicked gifts for Appreciation Week. Thanking a trucker is incredibly easy. Here are five great ways to show your support for the legions of long haulers who literally drive our country's commerce.

1. Pick up a driver's tab at the truck stop.

Has the person in front of you at the drive-through ever covered your order? Or maybe someone noticed how well behaved your kids were at a restaurant and picked up your tab. Generous gestures like this feel pretty good—for both parties.

If you're road tripping or your job requires lengthy car travel, you probably frequent truck stops to gas up, buy snacks and use the restroom. You may have even mingled with a few truckers while waiting in the checkout line or stopping for a meal at these over-the-road outposts. What a perfect opportunity to thank a truck driver for all they do and then pick up their bill. Regardless of whether it's beef jerky and a bottled beverage or a burger and fries, your gratitude comes through loud and clear.

2. File a compliment with the driver's trucking company.

Disgruntled customers file complaints when they want to give someone an earful about bad service or a surly worker. Why not flip the script and file a compliment with management when an employee does an outstanding job? Sometimes the best way to show a truck driver you appreciate them is to brag on them to their superiors.

Truckers have been in the news for some pretty heroic behavior, but these are extreme examples. What about the truck driver who buys a meal for a homeless person sitting outside the truck stop? Or the one who hands out flags on July Fourth? Or the one who lets wide-eyed kids check out the cab and honk the horn? If you see a trucker being a good person, get their name and jot down the carrier. Then give the company a call and tell them how lucky they are to have such a wonderful driver.

3. Shout a driver out on social media.

Social media is another great forum for showcasing truck driver appreciation. Tell truckers how much you appreciate them in a post or shout them out for something awesome they've done. Just remember to use the #thankatrucker hashtag on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. That way, drivers can easily keep track of all the positive vibes.

Thank-you posts on social media can be wide-reaching or very personal. Maybe someone in your family is a truck driver who's missing a special occasion because they're on the road. Publicly thank them on Facebook and tell them you're grateful for their sacrifice. Or, remind others how vital truckers are to their everyday lives. Here are some eye-opening stats you can share:

  • 60% of truck drivers log more than 500 miles in a typical day
  • Grocery and convenience stores would run out of food in about three days without commercial trucking
  • Trucks move roughly 72.5% of the nation's freight by weight

4. Donate to a trucking charity.

Looking for a more low-key way to support truck drivers? If you'd rather write a check and let your dollars do the thanking, you're in luck. There are some amazing nonprofit organizations helping truck drivers and their families. Show your appreciation by making a donation to one of these outstanding charities:

  • St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund – Named after the patron saint of travelers, this fund helps truckers pay their living expenses when they experience costly health problems or illnesses that render them unable to drive. That's a big deal when you consider 70% of professional truck drivers are living with at least one serious health problem.
  • Truckers Emergency Assistance Responders – TEAR is another nationwide relief fund for truckers. The organization financially assists truck drivers with an array of issues from carrier abandonment to wage theft to debilitating injuries. TEAR's goal is to help drivers get back to work after experiencing a traumatic event.
  • – This nonprofit works to unite drivers with their families in times of crisis. Founded in 2014, has helped more than 330 truckers reunite with their families after severe injuries, major medical events and even death. The organization also has a Christmas campaign for children of truck drivers who passed away while on the job.

5. Try an old-fashioned thank you.

Perhaps the most obvious—and authentic—way to thank a truck driver is to … well … say "thank you." So simple yet so rare. Police officers and military veterans sometimes receive random thank yous for their service. Try the same tack with a trucker. No one ever gets tired of hearing they're appreciated.

Not only do those two words make the giver and receiver feel good, real-life examples of gratitude have a legitimate ripple effect. No need to overthink it. When you meet a truck driver, tell them you respect what they do and hit 'em with a heartfelt thank you. You'll make a memory they won't soon forget.

At JLE, we want to take a moment to thank our elite team of truck drivers for their hard work and professionalism. Do you have what it takes to be Proudly Driven? Apply today and work for one of the fastest-growing flatbed trucking companies.