When Followmont Transport managing director Mark Tobin got word that one of his drivers had a son going through a difficult health battle, he wanted to do something special.
It was back in 2018, when four brand new K200s were due to arrive in the linehaul fleet that Tobin decided to name one Lachy.
Lachlan Sanderson is the son of Followmont driver Gary Sanderson, who started with the business in 2015. He’s been in the driver’s seat for over 25 years, following in the footsteps of his father – and now it looks like Lachy may have also inherited that same passion for trucking.
“I’ve been driving trucks for nearly 25 years. It was a childhood passion of mine to one day drive B-doubles. I started in body trucks, then moved up to the semis and now I drive B-doubles, doing pick-ups and deliveries in the Brisbane area. Followmont helped me upgrade to my MC,” he said.
To surprise the Sandersons, Followmont called Gary to come past on a day off. “They said we’d like to invite you and Lachlan to the depot to have a chat with Mark, because Mark wanted to meet my son,” explained Gary.
“That’s when they presented Lachlan with his own Followmont t-shirt and then they brought us out to the truck that was dedicated to Lachlan. He would’ve been about nine years old and he was just amazed. He couldn’t stop smiling. They gave him a ride in the truck and even today, he still says to me, dad are they looking after my truck and are they keeping it clean? He’s truck mad just like myself.”
Gary currently drives a refurbished Kenworth K104. Followmont says they invested quite heavily in that truck and chose him to drive it because he is so professional and committed.
“Gary is a valued member of the Followmont family, he is an amazing driver, team player and all-round genuine bloke. His customers and team love working with him as he embodies our company values,” added Tobin.
The Lachy K200 has now clocked up almost 1.5 million kilometres. But as the truck is in the linehaul fleet and Gary works locally, he had never had the chance to drive it. That all changed last week.
“That K200 usually runs up and down the east coast. Last week I was in the yard while my truck was in the workshop having some maintenance done. When the workshop manager asked if I’d like to take Lachy for a run, my face lit up. For me it was very special to have that truck for the day that was named after my son,” said Gary.
At just 14 years of age, young Lachy has had to undergo more surgeries than many people will go through in their lifetime.
Lachy has a rare genetic syndrome and has had approximately 30 surgeries to date, but as his father Gary explained, “He’s a very resilient kid. The surgeries are always scary but he bounces back really quickly. He’s doing really well and is a straight A student at school. He’s fantastic.”
Lachy was diagnosed shortly after birth. “He was born with no soft spot on his skull and had a ridge down his forehead, so they did genetic testing to find out what it was and how he got it, and it turned out it was passed on through me.
“The surgeries are starting to slow down. He has four more surgeries before he turns 18. With this particular syndrome he has, it stops becoming apparent once they become an adult.”
When Tobin found out about what the Sanderson family was going through, he says he wanted to do something to put a smile on their faces. “A member from our operations team told us about the difficulties that Gary and his family were facing. The truck was a gesture from everyone at Followmont to let Lachlan and the Sandersons know that we were all behind them and thinking of them,” Tobin said.
“Lachy is an incredibly resilient kid, and I felt so humbled to see how much joy this small gesture brought to him and his Dad.
“It was great to have the unit back in Brisbane for the day and see Gary behind the wheel performing his local runs.”
For Gary, having the support of Mark Tobin and the Followmont team has been amazing. “Mark is very family orientated. When they first found out about my son and his condition, there wasn’t anything they wouldn’t do to help. They’ve been fantastic.”