OUTWIT, OUTLAST, OUTDRIVE.
One of the stalwarts of the Gearhouse driving team since 1996, Petros Radebe now "70 something" still drives for the company on a daily basis. This September, he was surprised to learn that he has outlasted the Renault Horse and Trailer that he has carefully maintained and driven since both he and the vehicle arrived at the company 15 years ago.
Petros had been freelancing for the Company for a couple of years already when the need for a driver with what was then known as a Code 14 (EC) license to drive articulated trucks, became apparent. Since he had recently signed on with company as a permanent staff member, Petros was the obvious choice. In 1996, the license involved going to an out-of-town testing station and when Petros returned triumphant - all that was missing was the truck!
Some months later, he was called to the yard to meet his new "partner", a Renault R385 TI Major Truck, so brand spanking new that the plastic wrapping still clung to the bumper. It was obvious to all involved that this was a match made in heaven.
Petros fondly entitled the new truck, "Buccaneer"; as a tribute to the Orlando Pirates Soccer team of which he is an avid supporter and the two were virtually inseparable from that day onwards.
Petros' relationship with his truck goes deeper than one would imagine. "This truck has never given me any trouble " he states emphatically, "I have cared for it, kept it clean and driven it for years. It has always been good to me and never let me down".
The decision to replace this faithful old workhorse has been taken by the Gearhouse Operations team after its many years of service. It's the end of an era for Petros' old friend, but the legacy of naming the Gearhouse trucks remains a hotly contested competition amongst the staff whenever a new member of the 44 strong fleet arrives.
Perhaps they should call the next one Radebe!
Story & photographs- Robyn D'Alessandro
Mar 21, 2011