Females in Towing: A Story About Rae
Of the approximate 3.5 million commercial truck drivers in America, 6% of them are women. Even a smaller amount of that number are within towing, and not trucking in general. And we have one that we feel is the best of them all.
Her name is Rae, and when it comes to towing, she’s as good as it gets.
Rae’s been with us for over six months now. She loves her job, and she’s a regular member of the team here at Chappelle’s. But towing as a female still takes some getting used to.
“At least nine out of ten people will comment that I’m a woman,” she says. “Guys can get pretty testy about it. They had to call a tow company because they couldn’t handle the vehicle themselves, and then a woman shows up to get the job done. They aren’t too happy about that.”
It goes both ways, too. She said women are just as surprised as men when they see her. It’s a bit more positive, they mostly remark how proud they are of what she’s doing. The guys, when not showing attitude, will often joke around with her, flirting and such. Mostly they’re playing around.
“You gotta develop thick skin,” Rae says. “But that’s towing in general.”
Towing, and trucking on the whole, are seeing major changes in demographics. The American Trucking Association reported an immediate drop of 48,000 drivers in 2015, with that number expected to rise to 175,000 by 2025.
To fill that gap, many companies are putting programs in place to specifically recruit women. There’s the Women in Trucking Association, as well as other companies like Ryder System and Swift Transportation, that have helped increase the percentage of female drivers from 4.5 to 6 percent over the last five years.
Fortunately, Rae fell right into our lap. Her background was in operating heavy equipment, and she then worked as a bus driver. It seems only right for her next job to be in towing.
Rae’s had a ton of excitement since she started working for us. It started with her first ever winch job – the police were waiting for her to get there, and she blew out a tire! (that happens with a lot of drivers). Her fifth car she ever towed was a Ferrari. Her craziest story happened a few months back, when she worked New Years Eve: a dolly gave out, and she tumbled down an embankment. She spent the night in the ER, and found out she had a broken leg. Fortunately, she was back on her feet in no time.
This job isn’t for everybody, after all, and that’s fine with Rae.
“Towing is super exciting because it changes every day,” she says. “And I’m not a paper pusher. I need this physical environment to keep me happy.”