Guest Blog: Two Generations Of Route Drivers

Dec. 1, 2016

Hello, my name is Bobby. I am a route driver for a pop company that sells other beverages, too. Ray, my Dad, was a route driver for the same company. Together, we have 52 years of service as drivers on the streets of Detroit with the same company. Although my Dad is retired now, I am still driving for the company. 

I like to read when I am not driving my route truck. I read recently that 76 % of Americans are more inclined to sing in the car than the shower. Δ 

I only sing when driving my truck. And I only sing country songs. 

Mamma told her baby to grow up to be a route driver 

She taught ‘em to count and drive a truck 

Mamma told ‘em not to be professors and such 

* read to the tune of "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" written by Patsy and Ed Bruce. 1976. Sung by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. 1978. 

My Mamma was Elinor. She told me that being a route driver was the opportunity to build a stable career. A route driver is not a minimum wage job. I earn a good living including commissions and benefits and a couple of weeks vacation a year. 

Here comes the song again: 

Mamma do teach your babies to be route drivers 

They drive their route alone but always return 

each day to those who they love 

As a route driver, I have independence yet I am part of a vending, OCS, and micro market team. The team includes drivers, warehouse people, sales and support staff. Of course the owner depends on us to deliver customer service quality as he promises it to the providers (operators). 

The song is still playing in my head: 

Mamma I like being a route driver like Daddy 

We both pick guitars and love our adventures 

Drivin’ our trucks 

cleanin’ and fillin’ our machines 

with pride for the people who push the buttons 

The thing of it is that a route driver has security so long as the person takes personal pride in serving others, namely serving the people who push the buttons on the vending machines, enjoy a cup of OCS coffee and make a selection from a micro market. 

People. People. People. Being a route driver takes practice in understanding people, and where they are coming from, their needs and expectations. When I was real young, I had a toy car and used to drive it pretending I was making route deliveries, just like my Daddy. I made deliveries of candy bars and chips and pop to my Mamma. 

Do you have what it takes to be a professional route driver? If so, a career in vending, OCS, and/or micro markets may be for you. 

Take Away 

We are all influenced in our careers by what we experienced and learned along the way. I was influenced by my Mamma and Daddy to be a route driver. 

NAMA and MSU currently have a Route Drivers research project underway. We need your input and your experiences to help us better understand the responsibilities of route drivers. Please contact Dr. Ron Cichy ([email protected]) and we will get you started. Please give us your thoughts in our survey about how route drivers provide service quality in vending, OCS, and/or micro markets. The survey takes less than 10 minutes. THANK YOU for helping the industry improve. 


ΔHankook Tire Gauge Index. June 24 – 25, 2016. poll of 1,009 adults 

About the Authors 

Greg Sidwell, NCE5, CCS is president/CEO of G & J Marketing and Sales. 

Dr. Ronald F. CichyNCE5, O.M. is a professor in The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University.