John Richards defies most stereotypes. He has more than 30 years of experience as a truck driver, but he’s also protected a big-time CEO as a bodyguard. He’s driven the rich and the famous around in Bentleys and Rolls Royces. He’s flown private jets. He’s worked the security detail for film sets, and yeah, he’s even appeared in some feature films.
John is a maverick with a soft side. His doting Italian mom calls him as many as four times a day, and he always answers (if he can)! He’s one of those exciting and fun people who’d rather die than settle down to a routine-oriented life.
“I don’t really have a job,” he boasts, talking about his trucking career. “This isn’t hard for me. I’ve never worked a day in my life.”
For such a big talker with a larger-than-life personality, it’s hard to get John to truly open up about himself. Instead, he prefers to turn the conversation on the person with whom he’s chatting, asking her questions about herself to deflect away from himself. “If you and I were to get married,” he says, “you’d have to spend six months with my Italian mother to learn how to cook for me.” You can see, getting John to be serious is a bit of a challenge.
We were, however, able to get him to open up a little about his background growing up in a white collar community in Binghamton, New York. His dad was a director at IBM, his mother a housewife, and John was afforded all of the trappings of privilege. He did go to college but true to his individualistic nature, he didn’t worry about all those people saying you need a college degree to do well in life. College didn’t do much for him. He dropped out to make money. Guess how? You got it – trucking. He hauled furniture and electronics and then got into flatbed trucking driving back and forth across the country and to British Columbia.
Eventually, he got interested in other occupations and ended up taking a break from driving for 10 years. It was during that decade that he tried new things like touring as a security guard with Live Nation. He acted as an extra in the movie “District 9”, took a small part in a TV movie, and auditioned for parts in TV shows. He worked in various capacities for the film and sports industries until he got burned out standing on his feet for 12 hours at a time, whether at an all-star game protecting athletes or guarding the crew on a film set.
John says that he keeps coming back to trucking, but he’s not waiting to retire with a bucket list in hand. Rather, he’s building into his life all of those pursuits the rest of us wait to do until we’re old and have money in the bank. He’s back in trucking now, and thinks this may be for the long haul, but you never know with someone like John. After all, he has no kids to put through college, and he stills lives with his parents in Binghamton when he’s not on the road.
He has so many interests that we couldn’t write about all of them in this article. Who knows whether one of those contacts he made in Hollywood will look him up some day and offer him a part in a film? Or maybe he’ll get the opportunity to work security for a casino in Las Vegas, or be asked to drive a deep sea fishing boat for tourists or be invited to become a chef at an Italian restaurant.
“I wanted to do everything I ever drew in a coloring book,” he says. “I don’t want to be 80 to 90 years old and say what did I do with my life. I have no bucket list. If I died today I can say that I did everything I wanted to.”
John won’t really give a straight answer, except that he keeps coming back to his career as a driver . He’s been an owner operator at Bennett now for about three years. During that time, he’s gained quite a reputation around the headquarters in McDonough, GA, for being a character and saying outrageous things that couldn’t be shared in this article without a scandal (slight exaggeration). If John’s in McDonough and you’re looking for him, all you have to do is follow the sounds of laughter.
When seeking owner operator trucking jobs, John chose to lease to Bennett because he learned that Bennett is one of the best flatbed and heavy haul trucking companies. After joining, he was impressed with the support offered to drivers. “They all watch over me closely,” he says, quoting a long list of beloved operations managers at Bennett, including and especially his manager J.R. Rushing. “I am here to stay,” he says. “It’s awesome.”
During his time away from driving, John found opportunities to drive a little here and there, so he could hold onto his license. He always knew he’d be back.
“Truckin’ is like a true love,” he says. “When you see that woman, and you say, that’s the one.”
If you’re looking to make the change and drive for Bennett, or if you’d just like more information, visit drive4bme.com, or contact one of our recruiters at 888-712-3036!