Trucker Buddy Gets Great Press in Philly

May 06, 2010

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Fox 29 TV in Philadelphia recently had a heartwarming story about Trucker Buddy Mark Silva, A Wal-Mart truck driver who goes the extra mile in his pen-pal relationship with a local sixth-grade class.
A sixth-grader reads what she wrote about her class's Trucker Buddy, Mark Silva. (Image courtesy Fox 29 News)
A sixth-grader reads what she wrote about her class's Trucker Buddy, Mark Silva. (Image courtesy Fox 29 News)

Reporter John Anderson tells how for nine years, Mrs. Moore's sixth graders at Ridley Middle School in Philly have written to Silva, who lives in California. The children write letters to him and tell him about themselves, and in return, Silva has sent thousands of postcards from the West and Southwest.

Silva, the reporter notes, is part of the pen-pal program called Trucker Buddy International. But this trucker goes the extra mile - or 3,000 of them, he points out, to meet the kids. Each year Silva works it out with Wal-Mart to take that cross-country trip to the school. The video shows him driving up in the Wal-Mart truck with red white and blue balloons festooning the truck's mirrors. "But all those miles are quickly replaced by smiles," the reporter says, as children climb into the truck and pose for a picture with a stuffed-animal mascot (which will stay with the class; he brings one each year).

Anderson reports not only on what it means to the students, but also gives a real human insight into the trucker. "It's a long way to take a vacation, but it's enjoyment for me," Silva tells the reporter. "It relieves a lot of my stress on the road ... you can get lonely." And it's also a way to pay back the special teachers Silva remembers. "I thought about that for years, the teachers I had before and how they influenced me when I needed their help."

After the report, the anchors point out Silva's 2.5 million safe miles.

You can watch the video below (you'll have to sit through a short ad from the station, but it's worth the wait.)

Silva's visit also made it into the local paper, The Delaware County Times. In fact, if you search the paper's site for "Mark Silva," you'll find articles about his pen-pal activities with the class from several previous years as well.

This year's article notes that "the students had a lot of questions for Silva, asking about how hard it is to drive a truck pulling a trailer, what time he pulls off the highway at night, does he have to unload the truck when he stops for the night and how long did it take him to get to the school from California."

Silva tells the paper's reporter, "Hopefully, I will be able to do this another 10 years," Silva said. "I'm 53 years old, so I have to think about retiring."

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