I was driving through Dallas, TX and then through Mississippi. At this point, I was getting a lot better with my highway driving, but my shifting still wasn’t perfect. Travis said, “Carisma, I’m gonna need you to learn them gears or I’m gonna put you off my truck.” I was getting better with the gears but I would still make mistakes. Sometimes the RPM’s weren’t up where they were supposed to be & I forced it in gear. Travis would say, “Don’t force them gears, Carisma, I’m gonna put you off my truck. It’s been a week and you’re still messing up the gears. I’m gonna need you to think.” The next day, 3/14/13, Travis was starting his home time. He drove that whole day, I guess because he was in a hurry to get home, but I got cheated out of drive time again. We arrived in Macon, GA at The Red Roof Inn about 9pm. Travis checked me into the hotel and said he would be back to pick me up at 12 noon on 3/21/13. I rented a car for a few days so I could run home and see my family. I came back early on 3/21/13 I got ready to leave. I decided to wax my legs at the hotel because I wouldn’t be able to do that on the road. The microwave at the hotel was a dial microwave, not a push button. The dial microwaves don’t heat things up right, so parts of the wax are hotter than others, causing unforeseen burns. After I waxed my legs I noticed a slight burn and ingrown hair above my ankle on my right leg. I put Neosporin on it and I thought it would heal up but I didn’t realize at first that it was gradually getting worse. Travis picked me up in his car at 12 noon that day. We had to get a few things squared away before we left. We actually left in the truck at 2:45pm on 3/21/13. Yet again, Travis didn’t let me drive because he thought I may have been tired from driving a rental car previously. The next day, 3/22/13, we received info that we had to head up to Fairless Hills, PA. Before I started driving that day, Travis would say ignorant stuff to me. I had to stop and use the bathroom and when I came back I didn’t remember where the truck was so it took me a little longer to get back to the truck. Travis said, “You always look lost, I don’t know how you lasted 40 years. There’s definitely something wrong with you.” Travis finally let me drive at 4:45pm. He only let me drive 4 ¼ hours that day through New Bern, NC. He admitted I was shifting better but he still found fault with everything I did. On the highway, as usual, he would yell, “Speed up Carisma, why are you slowing down?” I had to keep telling him that if a car is a little close in front of me, I slow down a little bit. He said, “I don’t know if you’re ever gonna be ready to do this on your own. You don’t listen.” I told him, “I don’t feel safe following too close behind someone.” He continued to say, “They’re going to speed up, mash the gas!” We stopped in Ashland, VA to get showers. At the time, the sore on my leg looked a little worse, but I kept putting Neosporin on it thinking it would get better. Travis drove the rest of the time. The next day 3/23/13, Travis stopped in Maryland so we could get something to eat. I was walking back to the truck and when I got in the truck, Travis said, “You weren’t even watching where you were going when you were walking up here. I don’t know how you lasted 40 years. You don’t pay attention to anything. Are you sure you’re not a blonde?” I was only allowed to drive 1 ¼ hours that day, from Christiana, DE to Fairless Hills, PA. We were held up in Fairless Hills, PA until 5:30pm the next day, 3/24/13. I was finally allowed to start driving at 5:45pm for 5 hours. I drove through PA. Travis kept telling me about how I wasn’t learning. He would say, “Are you sure you’re not a blonde? I really think God gave you the wrong hair color. You’re an airhead, you don’t think. There’s no way you’re gonna do this on your own.” The next day, 3/25/13, Travis only let me drive 3 ½ hours, we had a few stops so I drove 2pm-2:45pm through Monee, IL, from 6:30pm-7:45pm through Bolingbrook, IL, and from 9:30-11pm through Thayer, IN. Throughout the day, Travis kept saying, “I’m really getting tired of all your excuses. I really need you to change or I’m putting you off my truck.” I told him, “I learned the 13spd, I’m just having a little trouble with the drop and hook, I’m doing a lot better.” He said, “Carisma, you been on this truck 3 weeks and you still make tons of mistakes, you don’t listen and you’re not learning. I don’t see how you’re going to do this on your own.” I said, “You had a week home time, so I was actually on the truck less than 2 weeks and I got hardly any driving time.” He said, “Carisma, I’m tired of you making excuses. That’s all you do is make excuses.” The next day 3/26/13, Travis drove the whole time. He was really getting irritated because he believed that I wasn’t learning at all. We were on our way from Thayer, IN to Springfield, OH. Travis said, “Carisma, we are in Ohio now. I need you to tell me whether or not you’re going to learn this stuff, pay attention and start listening or I’m putting you off my truck. You need to decide if you want to be dropped off at the Springfield, OH terminal. I don’t think this is the job for you. I really need you to make a lot of changes or you’re not going to make it.” I was very upset at this point. I said, “Well you obviously have a problem with me, so if you want to drop me off, go ahead.” He said, “It’s not me, it’s you, you are the one who’s not listening and can’t learn. You’re the one making excuses.” I said, “I’m really tired of being talked down to all the time so you can drop me off.” I called Paul Kwaak, my SDM, and told him Travis wanted to put me off the truck because I wasn’t learning. Travis told Paul, “I have to keep telling her the same things. She’s not learning, she’s not shifting right. She’s not listening.” I got back on the phone with Paul. He said, “It sounds like Travis isn’t really patient, you can get dropped off at the terminal and wait for another trainer.” I went to the Super 8 hotel in Springfield, OH to wait for another trainer.
The next day, 3/27/13, as I was in the hotel waiting, I noticed the sore on my leg was looking worse. It swelled up a lot more. I took a bath in Epsom salt, hoping it would get better. It started looking worse and worse. I got so scared that I called a taxi to take me to Springfield Regional Hospital around midnight. They informed me that I had cellulitis that developed into MRSA. They swabbed the sore to check to see if it was MRSA for sure, but they treated me for MRSA. The doctor said MRSA is a staph infection that enters the body through an open cut or ingrown hair. I probably caught staph from the truck stop in Virginia, because I noticed the sore getting worse after I took a shower there. They gave me a prescription for Mupirocin cream for the sore and 2 antibiotics to take by mouth, Cephalexin and Sulfamethazole- (not sure of spelling). At the hospital the doctor said I could be around other people but don’t let anyone touch the sore and don’t share any towels or razors. On 3/28/13 I went to Whitacre Pharmacy in Springfield, OH and got my prescriptions. I called my SDM, Paul Kwaak, and told him that I caught MRSA from an ingrown hair and I just got out of the hospital and had to buy antibiotics at the pharmacy. He said, “That’s fine, just make sure you’re available when the trainer calls you.”
The next morning, 3/29/13, Danette Adams, my new trainer rang my hotel room and said she would be in the Ohio area later that afternoon. When she called my room she said, “I want to let you know before you even get on my truck that I am a ***. I’m very open about it and I don’t want you to have a problem with it. I let everyone know that I’m a *** and I have a wife. I would never cheat on my wife. I only train women but I’m committed to my lady. I never come on to anyone else. I love my wife. I don’t want you to have a problem with me being a ***.” I said, “I would never say anything derogatory to you. I respect your choices and I never say anything derogatory about anyone.” I also told her, “I have a sore on my leg from an ingrown hair. It got infected and I’m being treated with antibiotics and the hospital told me it wasn’t contagious unless I shared towels.” She didn’t seem to have a problem with that at the time. I went to the Ohio terminal to wait for her. Danette met me at the terminal at 3pm that day. As we were walking to her truck, Danette said, “You’re a real girly girl, look at you with your little pocketbook, you don’t look like a truck driver at all.” I said, “Yeah sometimes people say I don’t look like a truck driver.” I told her about the bandage on my leg. I said, “the hospital said it was MRSA but its not contagious unless you come in contact with the sore.” Danette didn’t know what MRSA was. I explained, “when you get a cut, staph and MRSA could be on a surface or in the air and if it gets in the cut, it’ll get infected.” She didn’t seem worried about it at this time. We went to pick up a load at a building supply place to take to Lowes in Brick, NJ. Danette lives in Brick, NJ and she was going home for the weekend. She was going to drop the trailer off at the Lowes in Brick, NJ and unload it Monday evening after her break. At first I was happy because I found out that I would be able to see my family on Easter since I live in Gloucester City, NJ. At around 6pm that evening after the truck was loaded up, Danette let me drive, however, when I started driving I noticed that the 9spd shifter she had was very tight and hard for me to shift. It was taking me a little while to get used to the shifter, because I got used to the 13spd shifter on Travis’ truck. As I was exiting the industrial park, she kept saying that I couldn’t shift at all. I said, “It’s gonna take me a little while to get used to this shifter. It’s a lot tighter than the other shifter I used.” She said, “Oh, you can’t drive at all. You don’t even know how to double clutch. You don’t even have the basics down.” I said, “I did double clutch, this shifter is a lot tighter and a lot different.” She said, “You’re shifting is unsafe, we have to stop the truck. You can’t drive.” She made me stop driving after only 3 minutes. Since Danette had been driving all day, her hours were up so we stopped at a truck stop in Ohio. Danette said, “Wow, you don’t look like you can drive at all, I’m gonna have to reteach you everything. What I’m gonna have to do is let you observe me for a few days, how I shift, and then you can try to drive in a few days.” I was upset over this but I felt there was nothing I could do. I thought I had to agree with her. We walked into the truck stop to eat at Popeye’s. As we were walking, Danette said, “You really look like a girly girl. Look at that pocketbook. Are you sure this is even something you want to do? You don’t look like a truck driver at all.” I said, “I really want to try this because I like driving trucks, I was just having a problem with the shifter because its different. I just have to get used to the pattern.” She said, “You don’t even have the basics down. I’ll teach you but its gonna take me a while.” After we ate we were walking back to the truck. Danette kept laughing about the pocketbook. She laughed, “You are such a girly girl, that pocketbook is so funny.” I said, “This pocketbook is really old, I don’t even think its that nice.” I didn’t understand why she thought I was a girly girl. I think I’m rather tomboyish but everyone has their own opinion. We got back in the truck. We were getting ready to go to sleep and Danette started getting upset about the MRSA. She said, “My lady is a nurse, if I tell her you have MRSA, she will make me put you off my truck.” She called her wife and told her that I had MRSA. Her wife was on speaker phone and she said, “MRSA is highly contagious, you should have never gotten on the truck.” I told her, “I was treated with antibiotics and cream that I am using now. I was told at the Ohio hospital that I could still work around other people, I just couldn’t share personal items, or let anyone come in contact with the sore.” Danette’s wife said, “They should have never let you come to work. MRSA is highly contagious, you have to wear gloves.” Danette wanted to put me off the truck right then but she figured I would just get off the truck in Brick, NJ and not get back on. After she hung up with her wife she angrily said, “you should have told me you had MRSA. Now you’re jeopardizing my health and my lady’s health, you already touched the steering wheel. What if I catch it?” I kept telling her that if she didn’t share personal items she’d be OK, but she complained about it the whole rest of the time I was on the truck. She said, “You never gave me the opportunity to decide whether I should let you on my truck or not.” I said, “the hospital said it was OK, and when I called my SDM, Paul, he said I had to be available for the trainer.” As worried as she was about germs, she still kept a big bucket that she pissed in in the truck with her. That has germs too. She said, “at night I don’t feel like walking all the way to the bathroom and also if I’m on the road and I have to go, I just pee in the bucket.” I didn’t say anything about that, but she kept insisting that I was giving her germs.
The next morning, 3/30/13, Danette insisted that she drive the whole way to Brick, NJ because my driving wasn’t safe. She kept complaining, “I’m really disappointed that you didn’t tell me you had MRSA, you’re endangering my life and my lady’s life.” I said, “I was told by the hospital that it was safe for me to be around other people, if you want, I’ll buy hand sanitizer and wife down your truck with Lysol wipes if it makes you feel better.” She said, “You already done touched the steering wheel, you slept on the top bunk, I’ve already been exposed to it.” She kept repeating the same thing, “You never told me you had MRSA, you never gave me the opportunity to decide whether I should let you on my truck. You’re endangering my life and my lady’s life. You should have thought of that before you got on this truck.” She kept repeating that I was endangering her life. She kept screaming louder and louder. She said that my SDM should have never let me get on the truck. She made me call my SDM, Paul. I told him Danette was upset that I had MRSA, but they told me at the hospital that it was OK to be around people. I put Paul on speaker and Danette yelled, “Carisma should have never gotten on my truck. She has MRSA, do you know how contagious that is?” Paul said, “We’re not doctors here, we have no way of knowing.” Danette said, “Did you even bother to Google it? Its contagious. Carisma should have never gotten on my truck.” Paul said, “Well Carisma has to go home then and get clearance from her family doctor to be able to come back.” I said, “the hospital said it was OK, if I have to go home and get clearance from my family doctor, I’ll get docked won’t I?” Paul said, “Well you’re not getting paid if you’re home sick.” I said, “I was told it was fine. Danette is the one with a problem with it.” Paul said, “You have to get clearance from your family doctor.” He told Danette, “When you drop Carisma off in Brick, NJ, just tell her she had to get medical clearance from her family doctor to come back to work.” I was upset that I was going to be docked but it still wasn’t good enough for Danette. She kept screaming at me about being exposed to MRSA. She said, “That was selfish of you to not tell me you had MRSA. Now what if I get it?” I said, “you weren’t near the sore, I’ll even wipe down the truck for you with Lysol wipes if you want.” She said, “I was already exposed to it.” She said, “I’m just gonna let you know, if I catch MRSA I’m goin after you, I’m goin after Werner. I’m gonna sue you, I’m gonna sue Werner.” I was really aggravated at this point. I said, “I have no money at all, my house is worthless, I’m worthless, I have nothing, I dare you to come after me and I’ll sue you for verbal abuse.” I called my SDM and told him what Danette said. I told him that I shouldn’t be docked pay because she was upset over the MRSA. I yelled at him but he still said I had to get medical clearance and be docked to come back. After I talked to Paul, Danette quieted down a little bit, but she would still repeat about being upset over the MRSA. At around 7pm that evening Danette stopped at the Lowes in Brick, NJ. I waited for my friend Donny to pick me up. Danette had to fill out the trainee form but she conveniently put N/A on the form because of “medical reasons.” Just the fact that she told her wife about the MRSA is a HIPPA complaint. Its against the medical privacy act because I got thrown off the truck and docked pay.
I have been on medical leave from 3/31/13 to 4/11/13. It took a little while for the forms to get faxed from my doctor’s office to Werner. I am waiting for another trainer but I feel that I have been cheated out of a lot of valuable time. From 3/6/13 to 4/11/13 was time wasted. Instead of getting the tractor trailer training I was promised; I received nothing but verbal abuse and almost no drive time, just because I had to deal with Travis and Danette’s negative attitudes. This is over a month of my time wasted and 2 weeks of docked pay. I don’t think this a fair employment practice and its against equal opportunity employment.
Monetary Loss: $5000.