Johnny Hitchman was a man full of anger. Twenty years of hard living had made the over-the-road truck driver embrace the way of hatred and revenge. Whether it was a bad lane change by a “four wheeler” or a slow waitress in the Waffle House, Johnny was quick to show his temper, slow to reveal any act of kindness. Those who knew Johnny Hitchman, often wish they had never met the man.
It was on a long trip to Las Vegas that this angry truck driver learned a lesson in humility – a lesson he, and the others that witnessed the experience, will never forget.
Johnny never followed CB radio etiquette when he found the need to address his fellow travelers. In fact, I often wonder if he isn’t one of the main reasons for the “talking like a truck driver” stereotype. He was that liberal with his four-letter word rants.
It was on a beautiful day, just inside the eastern border of Nevada, that someone decided to ask Johnny Hitchman to quell his love of profanity. That someone was a Baptist preacher. The exchange went a little something like this:
“Sir, I would like you to please refrain from using profanity over the CB radio.” The preacher was calm and polite in his request.
“Well preacher-man, why don’t you just tell me which four-wheeler your in, and we can discuss your request,” Johnny replied, followed by a few more shots of vulgarity.
“If I agree to your request, will you stop the unnecessary use of profanity over the CB?” the preacher calmly asked.
“No, but after I box your ears in, you won’t be able to hear no cuss words no more.”
“I doubt that would be the result of our encounter.” The preacher sounded extremely confident.
Johnny was livid, and he peppered the airwaves with as much profanity as he could spew before pausing to breathe.
The preacher responded, “Sir, I’m not a violent man, but I am good with my hands. If the only way I can get you to refrain from your vulgar outburst, is to entertain your request that the two of us should schedule a meeting along this highway, please the name the mile marker and I’ll be there as soon as possible.”
And so, after the mile marker was announced, cars, trucks, vans and eighteen-wheelers with CB radios were dispatched to the side of U.S. Highway 93. It was to be a battle of good verses evil on that stretch of Nevada country.
The preacher kissed his wife and young children as he exited his immaculate, tan, Buick Regal. He was a man of discipline, both for himself and others. Johnny jumped from the cab of his Peterbilt, its engine still causing the asphalt to vibrate. The truck driver looked surprised by the arrival of his adversary. Few men had stood up to him over the years. Those who did challenge him were usually sorry they had done so.
Pastor Jacob Dukes made short work of Johnny Hitchman, but he managed to do so without causing the man any severe injury. People watched the entire event from the safety of their vehicles. Every time angry Johnny took a swing or tried to grab hold of the preacher, the preacher parried the attack and connected with a few quick jabs, occasionally a right hook. It was obvious that Pastor Dukes had some serious boxing skills.
Johnny did everything he could to tackle the preacher. Nothing worked, and eventually angry Johnny Hitchman became tired Johnny Hitchman. Pastor Dukes grabbed Johnny by the collar of his red flannel and walked him to the Buick, where Johnny apologized to the good pastor’s wife and children. And as the occupants of the cars, trucks, vans, and eighteen wheelers continued on about their travels down U.S. Highway 93, a remorseful Johnny came over the Citizen’s Band Radio. “I want to apologize to all of you people out there. The pastor was right when he said I shouldn’t use the words I was using over the radio. I’m not sure why I act the way I do, but I do know I need to change. I can’t go on living the way I do...acting the way I do. I met a real man today, a man with the courage to call on other men to do what is right. I want you to all pray for me...if you will...that I might become that kind of man.”
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