The Trucker Spotlight series explores the lives of truckers and their journey to make a difference in their industry. We interview different truck drivers to understand some life lessons that make them who they are today. We also learn more about their motivations, and the problems that they encounter on the job. We also tackle how Trucker Path’s solutions helped them with what they do. The information that they provide helps inform other people who are looking to delve into the trucking world.
Today we are putting the spotlight on Fredrick Claxton, who’s also known as Choicemas on Youtube. A trucker since 2016. Born and raised in NY, he’s a creative soul who loves music and art. He didn’t come from money and faced many serious challenges in life. A father of 3 beautiful and brilliant children and has been Married for 27 years. Let’s get to know “Choice” as his friends call him and his life as a trucker.
Tell us more about who Fredrick is. Any trivia?
I love my dogs “Milkshake” and “Brooklyn” raised, trained, and bred Pitbulls for a better portion of my life. I’m a thrill seeker, as me and my daughter jumped out of a perfectly good plane over the Gold Coast of Australia landing on the beach last year. I love to build my relationship with the MOST HIGH, and I am extremely interested in cultures, how people think and move, behaviors. I’m somewhat of a compulsive thinker. Here is a short story about when I was 3 years old. My parents were in the Military and it was about 7am in the morning and my mother heard a knock on the door: clueless to who it could be so early in the day she woke and opened the door only to see a complete stranger holding my hand in one hand and a big wheel tricycle in the other hand. My mother was taken by surprise and was very thankful for the stranger bringing me home. When my mother asked where he found me, the stranger explained that I was casually riding my tricycle down the side of a road. The theme of the story has stayed with me throughout my life. I’m always ready to go, ready to travel, fearlessly setting out on new adventures. The Star of my YouTube Channel is my 9 month old, beautiful mixed Pitbull puppy, “MILKSHAKE”.
I am the Co-Founder and president of the “Truckers Feeding The Homeless” organization. In the past 2 years we’ve fed and clothed over 1,000 less fortunate men, women, AND CHILDREN in Louisville and Dallas. This year we will be feeding 300+ less fortunate people in Houston, TX… as well as supplying them with hygiene packages and clothing.
What made you decide to be a trucker?
I was working in the same job for 15 years, facilitating classes to Motivate and inspire Management teams with GAP Inc. also forged relationships with Community based Orgs such as Habitat for Humanity, Fred’s Pantry, and AIDS Walk NY. Unfortunately, the company’s direction was not what it was when I started. I decided I wanted a change. I like music, I like driving, and I live traveling. I thought about getting a CDL and pursued it. I chose Flatbed and enjoyed the position very much. Now I have my own of my trucking company, STC Trucking LLC. STC stands for stop the clock which is the theme and titles of my live feeds.
In the years that you have been driving, what are the significant changes that you’ve noticed in the trucking industry?
I’m not sure I’ve been around long enough to speak to what’s changed significantly. I hear seasoned veterans speak of the significant changes and differences all the time. May would say the HOS and ELD mandate, however I began my career in the ELD time. If I had to say something about significant change, I would say that more and more drivers, especially new generation drivers are becoming more and more aware of the Truck Stops, Mega Carriers, taking full advantage of drivers in ways that do not show an appreciation for what we do. Truck driving is listed in the TOP 10 Most dangerous jobs in the world, and many are away from their families, and there are truck graveyards out here that unfortunately are locations where lives were lost. This country, this WORLD can not and will not move without Trucks. Everything and anything from the grass and front lawns of neighborhoods, to the nuts and bolts of technology, to the building supplies, to the… list goes on. Look around. With that said, many new generation drivers are steering their way into their own trucks as Owner Operators, giving them more power, control, and a say out here on the road. Something that really NEEDS to change (which I think would be a great question to ask) is compensation!!! Even the Militaries that protect countries NEED trucks. Why is that truck drivers are being compensated with border line poverty salaries? I truly believe all truck drivers should make no less than 80k a year if not six figures. Too much sacrifice, and very dangerous, and unhealthy to receive less than.
What made you start your Choicemas Youtube channel?
My mother was fighting cancer at the time. Knowing she couldn’t join me on the road, she wanted me to document my travels. So, she purchased a GoPro action camera for me. Soon after posting videos, for my family to watch, I received a considerable amount of feedback from other truckers. Especially truckers new to the industry, as well as others considering acquiring a Class A License. I received a substantial amount of email, and comments on my videos stating how inspired and encouraged they all were, and thanking me for creating the videos and documenting my journey. In turn, they inspired me to built the YouTube Channel. My friends and family calls me “Choice”. It is a handle I was given by friends in High School. They also nicknamed me “M.A.S” (pronounced like *mass). MAS is an acronym for Mind And Spirit. Hence the name, “Choicemas”.
What attributes must one have in order to be a successful truck driver?
Patience, Resilience, Foresight, Safety Mindset, Time Management
What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had while over the road?
I had a “Ghost” or “Spirit” encounter on the road at night in Montana in the dead of winter. I’m not crazy, and they say seeing is believing.
What’s your favorite Truck Brand / Model?
The 389 Peterbilt, as it is a classic, clean, and mean looking machine. It is a beautiful truck. I now finance a 2021 Black & Chrome 389, and enjoying every minute of it going down the road.
Aside from being a trucker, any other things you dream of doing?
I dream of owning a ranch/farm in the desert with an outdoor kitchen and an in-ground pool. And in 2 years I will have that dream. I also dream of traveling the world to as many different countries as possible, and will live to explore each culture and aim to create an intimate relationship with every new culture… the way of life, the culinary, the art, the music, and most of all the people.
What’s the best truck stop for you?
I can’t say that I have a best truck stop. I like 1-80 Wolcott just because I like to browse the store really. I frequent LOVES truck stop the most only because they offer the best in rewards.
What was the worst breakdown or setback you’ve experienced while OTR?
I got jammed up in a Blizzard in Lake Tahoe for 5 days in 2017. Worst blizzard Lake Tahoe had seen in 5 years a resident told me while getting something to eat in a nearby gas station. I also had to dig my truck and trailer out of the snow. After 5 days of snowfall the snow was up to my door and the trailer completely snowed in as well. I ended up parking in the street as there was nowhere else to park and Bull dozers plowed around me every day and night.
We’re glad that you use the Trucker Path on your day to day trucking. What features do you enjoy the most?
I do use Trucker Path every day. The features I enjoy the most are “Places”. It would also be amazing if I could be able to pull Gyms and Wellness centers up in the “Places” feature soon. It would also state that TP considers the health of drivers. I love that I can check the reviews of each place and especially WalMarts to see if parking is allowed (for trip planning purposes). I also like the breakdown it gives of each place, listing such things as Laundry, Fuel, Truck Service, Etc. One thing I don’t see on there are “Pet Bathing Services as some of these truck stops have them. I use the Map constantly. It really helps me to escape traffic jams when I need to get off at a random exit to move around a traffic jam.
What are some tips that you would like to share for aspiring truckers?
Tips for aspiring truckers: Never give up, have a mindset that speaks “failure is NOT an option. If you must start your career with a mega carrier, get your 2 years experience, keep your license clean, no accidents or tickets, and you can choose your path after that. Choose a smaller company, get away from the Mega Carriers and KNOW what you want and what you DON’T want, and go for it!!! NEVER BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS!!! PRACTICE self-advocacy in any situation and with any employer. Over communicate. It is imperative to communicate as much as possible with dispatch, brokers, shippers, and receivers. It will save a ton of headaches and unexpected challenges if a driver is 2 steps ahead and has all the information they need as well as provides all the information they can. Be considerate!! There is a list comradeship out here that once existed. Be the better man/woman and give positive energy ALL the time, as it will return in a positive way. For Flatbedders a serious piece of advice would be dress for the weather. It can be freezing outside, but that doesn’t mean we have to be freezing. If you dress correctly it will not intimidate you.
Hiking socks are the way to go ALWAYS, because they let your feet breathe in the summer and keep your feet warm in the boot in the winter. Several pairs of gloves, base layers, bibs, and more. There are plenty ways to stay warm out here. I do.
Where can people watch your videos on Youtube?
They can view my videos on my Youtube Channel, Choicemas.Hope you guys enjoy!