Just about the highest praise we can give a TOTAL driver is recognizing them as our Driver of the Year. Taking home that award is never easy with a fleet of 1,035 skilled and dedicated drivers. That’s why we are extremely proud to recognize Driver Trainer Rashid Rashid as TOTAL’s Driver of the Year!
We managed to catch Rashid for the few rare moments that he’s not behind the wheel to find out more about him and what it takes to earn this prestigious award.
TTMS: Rashid, we just wanted to congratulate you one more time on becoming TOTAL’s driver of the year!
Rashid: Thank you, I’m really proud. It’s quite an honor.
TTMS: Tell us a little about yourself.
Rashid: Well, I’m originally from Tanzania in Eastern Africa. I came to the US in 1997.
TTMS: Have you driven trucks since you got here?
Rashid: Actually no. Before I became a driver I worked in the restaurant industry for over 12 years, lastly as a general manager at Macaroni Grill.
TTMS: What made you decide to leave that behind and become a truck driver?
Rashid: I was burned out on the industry, I wanted something new. I heard many great reviews about Total so I applied.
TTMS: How long have you been driving for TOTAL?
Rashid: Haha, My beginning was with TOTAL and I’m still here. So I’ve been here 4 years, and 3 as a trainer. I really enjoy what I’m doing. I’m my own boss. I talk to my Dispatcher and FM for just a couple of minutes a day. Once I get my load, I plan my trip and I make my own schedule. I love it.
TTMS: What do you like about being a Driver Trainer with TOTAL?
Rashid: I enjoy teaching people a way to make a better life for themselves and their family, just like I did. All that time in the restaurant industry taught me to be really patient with people. It makes me proud to help build strong drivers for TOTAL and the industry.
TTMS: We all thank you for that Rashid. What do you like most about working for TOTAL?
Rashid: What I like best about TOTAL is that I feel like it is my family. You know, anytime I have had a problem or an issue about anything I needed, they are there. If I need to get home they will get me home. And I can say this, the only way I’m leaving TOTAL, is if I leave the industry and I don’t see that happening.
TTMS: We really appreciate your dedication. How do you balance your work and home life?
Rashid: Well, I have a family at home and I drive to make a better life for all of them. It was hard on them in the beginning but at the end of the day it makes a better future for them. The income is great. It’s a trade off, but every mile I drive gives them a better future. This way they won’t have to go through so much. I couldn’t do this if it were not for my wife Hadayi Omari, my 3 boys Seleman, Said, and Hakeem, and my little girl Mariam. I’ve got a special fund for their education. I got a degree in accounting from The University of Tennessee. It’s important to me that they can do the same.
TTMS: I know you’ve only driven for us but what do you think makes TOTAL different from other trucking companies?
Rashid: What makes TOTAL unique is that they are family oriented. Not only do I mean they feel like family but they care about your family too. They listen and care about the drivers. You can see that even in the training program. Students make better money, $90 a day. At many other companies students only get like $30 a day. That’s a big difference.
TTMS: What advice do you have for other drivers out there?
Rashid: Yes, thank you for that opportunity. Drivers need to be patient. In the beginning, it can be difficult because through training you’ve had someone there. Don’t try to run yourself ragged in the beginning, get to know the job and that will help in making those miles easier down the road. There’s money in that truck and there’s money at TOTAL and they care about their people. Be patient, and if you find someone that you can team with, do it. There’s real money in teaming, I had the opportunity and it made my life much better.
TTMS: So here’s the big question. What does it take to become TOTAL’s Driver of the Year?
Rashid: I’ll tell you. I never have loads running late, I keep my promise, and I’m always willing to help. I even help students I didn’t train. They can call me and I help them. I also help the company. I will sacrifice for the benefit of the company. If they have to have a load run and I’m the guy they need to do it… they can consider it done. I help, I’m patient, and I try every day to do the absolute best I can. I keep my promise so TOTAL trusts me.
TTMS: Well it certainly shows that you are proud of the job you do, and you should be. In addition to what you’ve said, everyone here says you always have a great attitude and are a pleasure to work with, even when things don’t go exactly as planned.
TTMS: It’s been really great speaking with you Rashid. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Rashid: I just want to say again that TOTAL is a great company that keeps its promises.