Lowell Thompson is much more soft-spoken and assuming than your typical trucker. But for over half a century – and an incredible 7.5 million accident-free miles – this year’s Volvo Trucks-Ontario Trucking Association Truck Driver of the Year has let his driving do the talking.
Thompson, a gravel and heavy-haul driver for Don Anderson haulage throughout his entire 50- year career, was presented with the award last night at the OTA’s awards dinner gala in Toronto.
Lowell grew up on a farm in Ontario’s before working for GM as a teenager. But the monotonous indoor nature of assembly line work steered him to follow a cousin into driving truck. He met with the late Don Anderson on Sept. 8, 1968 and started haling gravel the following Monday. He’s been with the company ever since.
“They just don’t make truck drivers like Lowell anymore,” says company president Michael Anderson. “He’s seen it all; he’s lived it all. For over 50 years he’s never been in any type of accident. You can be lucky for a number of years, but you have to be good to be lucky and Lowell is the best.
“My dad, if he were with us today, would be very proud of Lowell. Everyone at Don Anderson Haulage is very proud.”
Lowell admits there’s been some fortune over the years but reveals the secrete to his impeccable safety record comes down to the simplest of virtues: “You just need to have patience in this job. When you’re going down the road with 100,000 pounds on it, it won’t stop on a dime and give you 10 cents change, I can guarantee you that.”
In presenting the award to Lowell and his wife Yvonne, Matthew Blackman, fleet sales manager for Volvo Truck Canada added: “It is truly an honour to present the Ontario Driver of the Year to Lowell, who has had such a long-standing and accomplished career in the transportation industry.”
Asked how many more years he plans on driving, Lowell smirks and shrugs.
“What am I going to do at home? Sit around?” Lowell asks rhetorically. “I don’t know … one of these days I’ll quit. Right now, I’m just enjoying it and driving as much as I can.”
Click video thumbnail below to see the tribute of DOTY winner, Lowell Thompson: