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John James

TikTok, The Data Breach and Chain-law-in-effect friends

I learned SO MUCH in the 25 minutes we spent with John James. From the government data breach, to life as a trucker and TikTok! I was genuinely enlightened to the point that my brain (has continued to) fire on several new cylinders! My son Murray LOVES trucks. It is his number one passion in life. OK and here is the second thing you need to know about how we ended up meeting John James: the I-70 highway in CO on our current route back from Zion (dear lord – more to come on Zion) goes as high as 11,112 feet and to go through there under certain wintery weather conditions, you are required to “put chains” on your tires. I still don’t fully know what this means but I know that there are huge chains that one has to strap to the tires in some way in the middle of terrible weather. James estimates it to be about a 30 minute process for our van – so just image how long it takes for a huge semi-truck. All of this happens at altitude. So on a beautiful sunny day in (insert town), we stopped along a truck spot right on the Colorado river. Murray was over-the-moon about the semis all parked in one lot! “BIG TRUCKS”!!! He exclaimed, thrilled with the potential that he might be exploring them IRL after they had reached celebrity status via all the “big truck” youtube hes watched during diaper changes (and beyond :/) – I know screen time is bad but he is mesmerized by it (unlike with traditional baby tv) and so I have had to take advantage when I need a breather! Big trucks! I love yoU!!!!). Anyways, so we all get it out and Murray explodes over to the big trucks. The first one gave us a wave and a little hello. We explored the truck and then moved over to the shiny purple cab with the massive white container on the back. The driver immediately smiled and turned off his truck and got out! He let us see the inside immediately where he had a tiny little chihuahua friend sitting on the passenger seat. He told us that he was happy to come out and hang – he had just been going down a rabbit hole on tiktok over the big government data breach where the very dumb ego-driven young military guy had given tons of classified documents to some humans from Russia who were purposely taunting him to get them (omg is this actually for real? IT IS. omg). Which are now totally public and, according to John, “interesting but not surprising”. First of all, I had NO ideal that this kind of thing was being discussed on TikTok. I genuinely thought it was for coordinated dance moves and that was pretty much it (more to come on my adventures in and thoughts on TikTok). John (as well as the other truckers), had stopped in the lot, just like us, because they didnt want to have to deal with putting chains on their tires and were hoping the weather requirement would  be lifted soon to avoid it. Before his TikTok dive, he had gotten out and walked along this part of the CO river and he was taken with how beautiful it was. I asked him if he loved trucks and always wanted to drive them (thinking he may have been just like Murray lol). “No” he said. And then he told us his story. He was raised in a poor Floridian family – none of his family members were able to advise him on any meaningful life paths to elevate himself from this very difficult situation (this gave me pause because he was so clearly bright and articulate). And by some stroke of luck, he found himself at a job fair, where he learned about trucking and was given a sweet offer: they paid for his training, and then paid a generous salary while also providing lodging! He showed us his little apartment (I had never actually known what the deal was with the cars of those big semi-automatic trucks – but now bc Murray is so passionate, I really notice them and can also name most construction vehicles – anybody else out there now know what a backhoe is?). OK – so those cabs are full apartments! And they are nice! John definitely has more room to spread out and for storage than we do. In fact, I think John’s apartment for 1 may be about the same size as ours for 4! And it was immaculately clean and tidy. John went from being a very poor kid with a struggling family to someone who had over $70k saved in the bank!!! In under 3 years I believe (maybe even 2?!). He was in a place where he was imagining and thinking through new possibilities in his life. It was so exciting to connect with such a positive, intelligent, kind-hearted human being. 

P.S. After a very enjoyable couple of hours waiting out the “chain-law in effect”, it was lifted and we moseyed on home.

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