When truckie Shannon Newton woke up in his Freightliner Century in Eastern Creek in Sydney earlier this week he was greeted with what looked like his worst nightmare.
A VW Golf with P-plates had parked between his truck and the trailer that had been dropped off for him while he slept on Eastern Creek Drive before his return to Melbourne.
“I’d told my changeover driver to drop the trailer there as close as possible because normally cars get in there and we’re screwed,” the owner-driver told Big Rigs.
“Sure enough, the alarm went off, I’ve woken up [around 10am], lit a smoke, pulled the curtain back and just gone, ‘You’re f##k’n joking’.
“I get out fuming, and I walk up and think, ‘What’s this on his dash?’ It’s a phone number so I rung it and it’s a kid, a young tradie on P-plates.”
Without the number, Newton would have been off on a frantic door-to-door search for the owner, and if that wasn’t successful, facing another night in Sydney stuck on the side of the road.
But the contrite VW owner answered the call immediately and appeared within minutes from the nearby construction site where he was working to save the day, much to Newton’s relief.
“He was really good, really apologetic. Didn’t give me any lip on the phone. He came down and I’ve said to him, ‘Mate, look, just pop beside the trailer, I’ll back up, you can jump in front of me, re-park, and go back to work’.
“It’s one of those stories where you’d have to be there to believe it. I’ve never even heard of this happening. It probably has happened, but you just don’t hear about it.
“I’ve been caught out a couple of times before and you go door-knocking, and in that street you can’t really do that. You’ve got the construction site and about three other big buildings.
“By the time you got through all of them the whole day would be gone.”
Newton said he wanted to share the story with Big Rigs to show “not all car drivers were stupid”.
“There’s a young kid who’s a P-plater, and it’s a rarity that he has had enough brains to leave his mobile number and say sorry, and that’s what we need more of.”
Newton said he’s seen some motorists park the bonnets of their cars under a trailer, just to get a parking spot.
“I’ve actually said to guys, ‘Mate, I’m in that truck, I’ve got to hook up to that trailer in half an hour’s time.
“If you move your car now, I’ll back under it, and he’s just gone, ‘No, no, I don’t have time for this and just walked off’.
“I’ve said, “Mate, you keep walking and I’m going to drag your car down to the highway at your expense’.
“It’s almost like you have to threaten to do damage to their cars in order for them to wake up.”
In the latest incident in Eastern Creek, Newton said he had to park on the side-street, as many other truckies are forced to do, because the nearby BP is “jam-packed”.
“There’s just no parking left, none at all,” he said.
“And then you go to park down on the M7s, and you might get a knock on door saying, “Look, this isn’t a rest area, it’s an emergency stopping bay for checking your loads and you’ve got to move on.
“Unfortunately local police don’t really understand transport so they think they’re doing the right thing while we’re arguing the point and then cop an eight-hundred and something fine and have to go to court and fight it.”