Good Samaritan is an apt description of truckie Mark Spall in an era where many will cruise past a broken down truckie instead of stopping to offer help.
Most of the middle-aged and older drivers reckon that was not generally the case back a few years when most would stop.
Several times Spall has spotted a driver who was beside a road waiting for repairs to be done by a mechanic and offered to assist.
He had gleaned the stricken drivers could have to wait for many hours and had little water and no food.
“I have given them food and water from what I had in my truck and made sure they had called for a mechanic. The latest time was near Moree in NSW,” he said.
Spall, 56, who drives a triple road train was adjusting the straps on his load of stock feed when Big Rigs spotted him at the Townsville Port Access Road. “I am just making sure they are all tight,” he said.
Spall works for Sizer and Cogill Logistics, based at Pittsworth, and was helping the company’s Townsville depot out.
“The stock feed is headed for Camooweal near the NT border,” he said.
Historical Camooweal is about 1100km from Townsville and just 10km from the border with NT.
Spall was driving a Western Star Constellation Series and with the three trailers was more than 50m in length.
“It looks likely I will have to pick up a backload from the railway at Mount Isa,” he said.
On that trip Spall had to travel along two roads he considers to be challenging – the Flinders and Barkly highways.
Spall has been a truckie for 20 years and loves the job and his current employment.
“I couldn’t imagine doing anything else and get to meet interesting people,” he said.
Like many drivers, Spall cooks a lot of his own food whilst on the highways and byways.
“I have a gas cooker, a microwave and a small fridge with me and they come in handy,” he said.
However Spall does like stopping at the Shell Richmond Roadhouse, situated 500km from Townsville along the Flinders Highway.
“The food is good and the staff are great there,” he said.
Outside work Spall enjoys his 1974 custom Harley Davidson motorbike.
He is certainly not on his “Jack Malone” as many truckies I speak to also love a Harley.
Regarding Covid 19, Spall said he has had quite a few challenges but that was mainly when crossing borders.
“It hasn’t affected me that much, being in an area where there hasn’t been much of it,” he said.
Spall is a happy truckie who was a pleasure to talk to. When I asked if there was anything that annoys him during his travels, surprisingly Spall was complimentary towards most caravan drivers which is in direct contrast to the opinion of many others.
“Generally I have found quite a few good van drivers who have got on the UHF radio and directed me around them,” he said.