Twas the night before Christmas, just before dark,
and driver Cris Kringle needed a place to park.
His big bore Cummins cranking max horsepowers,
the jolly old elf was out of on-duty hours.
If you replaced Santa's eight mighty reindeer with a long-nose conventional, Twas The Night Before Christmas, sounds a lot different.
Yet rather than sample one of the world's most widely known poems, Albertville, Minnesota-based Long Haul Trucking (CCJ Top 250, No. 215) put a unique OTR spin on solving a Christmas problem that in movies has been tackled by the likes of Earnest P. Worrell and Tim Allen: coming to Santa's rescue.
Written by LHT's Vice President of Sales and Marketing Anthony Book, How Chris and His Trucks Saved Christmas tells the story of a young boy and his five toy trucks (Pete, Pac, Yoko, Bib and Ken) and how they come to Santa's aid in his time of need.
Book said the story is meant to promote the industry's image and is dedicated to the drivers who spend holidays out on the road.
"It's a story about teamwork," said Book, adding the opportunity to write the 22-page tale allowed him to combine two passions: trucking and writing. The book was illustrated by Paul Johnson, uncle of LHT CEO Jason Michels, and an art instructor in northern Minnesota. "I thought it might be a cool way to get the spirit of adventure, the spirit of excitement and the essentiality this industry has in front of kids in their formative years, [and] make trucking more appealing to a mass audience."
Book, who writes the company's magazine The Clutch, has placed about 500 copies of his first-ever commercial publication in the hands of readers and just ordered another 1,000 copies. He said he's been "blown away by the response. Hearing that kids are enjoying it, I can't even tell you what that means to me."
How Chris and His Trucks Saved Christmas was published privately and backed financially by LHT. It is currently available only through LHT, but Book said he's considered reaching out to a publisher next year to widen its distribution and more broadly tell the story of trucking for Christmas 2023.
"Nobody's trying to get rich off children's books," Book said of his and LHT's aspirations in publishing. Rather, he said, the goal was to engage children with the business of hauling freight on a level that they can understand.
"There's a lot of great authors out there, but there's not much about trucking," said Book, himself a new father.
Now that Chris has officially saved Christmas, Book said he's put some thought into what might be next. While there's nothing been formally put in writing (literally), he said a follow up would likely showcase how transportation influences everything, not just Christmas.
"I would really like to do a book where the trucks do a little tour of our country, visit some of the different types of manufacturing, the supply chain ... entities that behind the scenes build the backbone of what our country is," he said.
Those interested in a copy of the How Chris and His Trucks Saved Christmas can reach out to Book directly at AnthonyB@longhaultrucking.com