We believe that everyone you meet on the road has a unique story to tell. Rick Meyer is no different. He came to K & J three years ago as a company driver after a series of difficult business ventures. In the time we've worked with Rick Meyer we have learned that no one is a stranger, just a friend he hasn't met. Meyer sat down with us to share his story.
"I had some successes," Meyer said. "But I've also had some painful failures that led me to where I am." It is his hope that in telling his story others will see how God has used his pain to show him what really matters in life.
As a young, newly married 20-something Meyer took over ownership of a Texaco Station in his hometown of Weatherford, OK. It was an instant learning experience.
"We ran a two-bay fuel station," he said. "When I started there in the mid 1980s I thought it would be a temporary thing, but I ended up running the station for 20 years, and for 17 of those years I was also the owner."
Meyer took pride in his station. It was a clean and well-maintained old-school full-service station. Each tank of gas came with a free oil check and windshield cleaning. Meyer loved that little station and took pride in his business.
He and his wife Sheila raised their three boys to know the value of hard work and dedication. But as we all know, a lot changed for fueling stations between the mid 1980s and the early 2000s. Updated regulations for underground tanks came with a large price tag, as did the addition of credit card readers. "We did our best to make it work," Meyer said.
Eventually, all those extra expenses to update the station took their toll on the couple.
We fought until the bitter end. But you can only make so much money at a small station, and our loans were too high. We drained all of our retirement and savings. We were making payments, but we couldn’t get out from underneath it.
When the bank called, Meyer knew that their journey with the station was coming to an end. He recalls the banker cried with his wife as they discussed filing for bankruptcy. "It was a huge blow to my pride," Meyer said. "But at the same time all of that was happening I watched a friend lose his 6-year-old son to a horrific accident. I remember crying out to God, 'Thank you for just taking my business and not my boys. Not my babies.'"
"All that time I spent trying to build and run a business wasn't what held value for me," he said. "What mattered, what lasted, was my wife and my boys."
After closing the doors on Rick's Texaco, Meyer eventually joined up with the local Ford dealership and quickly rose to partial ownership. Sadly, after a few years this venture crumbled leaving Meyer in a difficult place once again. He and his wife chose to move away from Weatherford and Meyer took a job in the oil field to make ends meet.
When he was laid off from that position, Meyer decided to use that time to change careers and pursue his CDL.
Shortly after getting his CDL Meyer found K & J Trucking in a local phone book and gave us a call. "I know it was a God thing," he said.
I know it sounds corny, but I truly believe that if I wouldn’t have gone through all that I wouldn’t have ended up here with you all. God is using K & J Trucking to bless me, and I hope I'm blessing you all too. Things have never been better for Rick and Sheila.
The perspective he gained through his business experiences travels with him. It is in the way he looks at the world, the way he interacts with others.
I've learned that there are things that matter and things that don't matter. My relationship with the Lord helps me focus on the things that matter. I can guarantee you I’ve learned more from my failures than most people have from there successes. I think it makes me a better owner operator.
He continued, "God had a plan, I may not have liked the first nine-tenths of it but the last one-tenth been great!"
When he looks to the future, he sees immense joy and possibility. He refuses to live in the anger and negativity, "You can take all the bad crap in life and you don’t have to forget it, but you also don’t have to let it ruin your life," Meyer said. "I'm having fun in my big old truck!"
Meyer isn't just passionate about positivity, he is also passionate about showing professionalism. This led him to a new venture on Instagram, Tidy Trucker.
"I believe that the way we treat the yards and lots we enter is a direct reflection of our self-respect," Meyer said. "We call ourselves 'professional' truck drivers, yet I would say that well over 50% of us are very unprofessional when it comes to cleanliness and litter."
When he first began his campaign against trucking litter he wrote a piece for our website called Make America Clean Again explaining his views on trash and the trucking industry. He has a passion for helping truck drivers and truck stops "tidy up their act" and improve the image of truck drivers in communities across the United States.
If you want to follow Meyer in his journey, visit his Instagram page www.instagram.com/tidytrucker and message him with suggestions of great, clean places you see along the road.