100-year-old man achieves dream, rides in big rig

HERMON, Maine (WABI) – Thomas Follette, 100, first drove a big rig more than 70 years ago.

"Oh, I had to teach myself how to drive a tractor trailer," he said.

He hauled cargo back and forth between Maine and Boston.

"The big terminal in Boston, then hauled it up to Houlton and Presque Isle."

It's been decades since he's stepped into a cab, that is, until today.

"How long has it been since you've been in one of these?"

"Oh, back in the '30s."

"It's just something that's part of his past that he's clung to a lot, and it means a lot to him because he feels very special in that truck," Debby Clark said.

Today's truck ride was just one of the wishes granted by the Maine Health Care Association's "Live Your Dreams" program, which helps older people achieve goals they may have thought were impossible.

"We said 'Oh, absolutely.' to be able to take somebody with the history that this gentleman has out for a ride in a truck because when he was driving truck, the roads were made of. And now the trucks have automatic transmission," Mary Dysart-Hartt, co-owner of Dysart's Truck Stop and Restaurant.

Follette spent several years driving for Dysart's, and as he took that long-awaited ride, he couldn't seem to wipe that smile off his face.

"Oh, I loved it."

He says more than a few things have changed since he was a driver, like the advent of air conditioning.

"Had a little fan on the dashboard, little rubber fan is all we had."

After working up an appetite, Follette and his granddaughter were treated to lunch at Dysart's.

"He has got to be flying on the moon today."

And don't expect him to take that hat off anytime soon.

"He'll wear that all the time now. It'll be too special. He'll think he's king of the mountain."


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