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An Expediter's Christmas Story

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An Expediter's Christmas Story

You can exchange Christmas presents any time, but you can't replace being there in person for Christmas Eve service. It is not only a tradition for us, but it's also a huge part of our faith and life. It is not something that you can replace. For us, this was the ultimate sacrifice, and it hurt.<br/> Well, as you can probably guess, the guys didn't get a load back east in time for Christmas. Christmas Eve for them was spent at a Chinese restaurant, and for me at church, by myself.

Greg and Mindi Shipman are fleet owners based in Upstate New York. Mindi runs the business from home. Greg is often out on the road, either driving solo or driving team with some of the drivers that contract with the Shipmans.

My hubby Greg and I have always prided ourselves in going the extra mile for all our drivers. We truly care about each one of our drivers and try to treat them the best we can ... even if it means that we must make a sacrifice on occasion.

"Fred" started with us in November. He told us that he and his family were hurting financially and he needed to stay out and make as much money as he could to get back on his feet. He and Greg stayed out for several weeks and were doing well.

Now, Greg and I don't really mind spending holidays apart, except for Christmas. Christmas has always been a very special holiday for us. The Christmas Eve service at our church has always made Christmas special for us. In the 15 years we have been married, we have never missed the service and have always taken part in it, and we have always been together on Christmas.

Fred and Greg were running well and it was just a few days before Christmas when it happened. It would not only test our marriage, but also our faith. The guys were around Missouri and planned on getting a run back east so they could get home for the holidays. The Qualcomm unit beeped with a load offer. Now, this wasn't just any load offer. It was one that we like to call a "cherry load". This load went to California and paid a LOT of money.

Greg was in a quandary. On one hand, he knew that if they took this load, the chances of getting one that would take them east and get them home before Christmas Eve was slim to none. On the other hand, he knew that Fred really, really needed this kind of load to financially help him and his family. While Greg knew Fred did not mind being away from home for Christmas, he also knew this was the one holiday that Greg and I had never spent apart.

Greg quickly called me to ask me what to do. I swallowed hard and told him to do what he thought was best then hung up. He called me awhile later and said that they took the load. I hung up the phone and cried. I was so proud of him for taking the load to help Fred, and yet I was selfishly sad that this would be the first time ever that we would miss being together for Christmas.

You can exchange Christmas presents any time, but you can't replace being there in person for Christmas Eve service. It is not only a tradition for us, but it's also a huge part of our faith and life. It is not something that you can replace. For us, this was the ultimate sacrifice, and it hurt.

Well, as you can probably guess, the guys didn't get a load back east in time for Christmas. Christmas Eve for them was spent at a Chinese restaurant, and for me at church, by myself.

As I sat there during the service feeling sad and sorry for myself, all of a sudden it hit me. Isn't this what our faith is all about? Aren't we supposed to help others during our walk in faith? When the pastor asked if anyone had anything to be thankful for that night, I stood up and told everyone what Greg did for Fred.

Greg and I spent most of Christmas day on the phone to each other. It wasn't the same as being together in person, but it was OK. We both felt that he made the right decision in taking the load to help Fred and we were at peace with that.

My guys finally got out of California. They ended up hauling a couple of small but well- paying loads in California then came home for 10 days. They did it as a surprise to me and let me tell you, it was. I had no clue that they were on their way home. I thought they were in California on a Sunday morning. Actually, they were about one hour from our house!

Hubby knew I would be in church when they pulled in. As soon as they got to the house, he ran in, took a shower and raced to our church. He got there just as service finished and coffee hour began.

I was up in the chapel when one our dear friends came to tell me that I was needed downstairs. As soon as I opened the door to the fellowship hall, I noticed that everyone was staring and smirking at me. Before I could wonder why, Greg stood in front of me. I could only stare at him in shock for a few moments before I burst into tears and raced into his arms.

I tell you, it was the best gift that I have ever received in my entire life! Everyone there was so happy for us. They knew how hard it was for us to be apart for Christmas.

Fred was so thankful to us for taking that California load and giving up our Christmas together. Even though we did not tell him that we did it for him, he figured it out and got real touched about it. He told us that we were one of a kind and was real thankful for giving him his dream (he always wanted to be an over-the-road trucker) and the opportunity of a lifetime.

Man, it just doesn't get any better than that as far as I'm concerned! It kind of gives us an extra spring in our step just knowing that our drivers truly appreciate our efforts.

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