Double D Transport president Ron Eadie says Winston Goold, his longest serving driver, is a problem for his company. A good problem, that is – in the sense that all his customers want Winston to deliver to them.
“Our customers and their customers were only requesting Winston to deliver their products. And of course, there’s only one of him, so we can a lot of sticky situations we had to wiggle through to make sure everyone got looked after,” says Eadie.
Today, the lucky customer is Gorilla Brake & Components in Brantford, Ont., which has the exclusive rights to Winston’s services.
“I consider him an employee of Gorilla Brake without having to pay his paycheque,” says Andre LaLonde, president of Gorilla. “He’s been doing it for 30 years and I’ve never had a driver who had that many compliments. If every driver were like Winston, I’d grow by business double points every year.”
Winston, 74, was in Toronto last night with his loving wife Carol and his children for the Ontario Trucking Association’s 93rd annual executive conference, where he took home the 2019 Volvo Trucks Canada-OTA Driver of the Year Award. He has been on the road for 40 years, almost all of them with Double D Transport. He has about 4 million, accident-free miles under his belt.
Winston was born in Waterford, Ont. in 1945. His father was a hard-working farm boy who also worked in a factory. Winston followed in his dad’s footsteps as a teenager, but after a few years of working on an assembly line he wanted something that offered a “bit more adventure” so he asked his brother if he could drive his truck. He brother brushed him off, Winston recalls with a tinge of bitterness. Not perturbed, he approached Ron Eadie’s father, Brain, who he knew through his son’s hockey team, and asked if he could learn to drive heady trucks.
“He was the only person to give me an opportunity,” says Winston. “And here we are, 30 years later. It’s been great working for him and Ron.”
Ron says his bond with Winston goes well beyond the employer-employee relationship.
“I consider him a good friend,” says Ron. “When I started to run the company for my dad, Winston helped me do things and I helped him. We grew together to where we are today. He’s the face of Double D as much as anyone who has helped build this company.”
An OTA Road Knight in 2003-2004, Winston takes great pride in showcasing the brightest aspects of the industry to young people and mentoring new drivers. He also goes out of his way to help anyone in need while out on the highway.
Ron recalls an incident not too long ago where a stranded driver approached Winston at a truck stop at the border. He was involved in a non-at-fault fatality in Alabama. The driver’s company impounded the truck and left him to find his own way home to London, Ont. Somehow, he made his way to Windsor, where, out of money and options at this point, he asked Winston for help. With no questions asked, Winston told him to hop in his truck and drove him home.
“That’s just the kind of driver and man he is,” says Ron. “Winston took a chance on this guy; and sure enough, he needed help. We are very proud to have a guy like that in our company. That’s not something you can put in a policy manual and tell drivers to do.”
Reflecting on his long and successful career, Winston shrugs off any talk of retirement. Although he might “slow down” in the coming years, he has no plans to stop doing what he loves most. In the meantime, he’s going to wear the DOTY award like a badge of honour.
“I’m so thrilled to have this award,” he says. ‘It’s not like it’s one of those things where you stand up and say ‘pick me, pick me’ so I’m grateful to Ron for nominating me. I just hope people know that along the way I did the best job I could and that hard work and dedication pays off.”