91-year-old woman keeps on trucking

Senior woman gets behind wheel of big rig for first time

Louise Spencer is about to turn 92, but that didn’t stop her from getting behind an 18-wheel tractor-trailer truck for the first time Friday at a driving range on Minnesota State College Southeast’s campus.

With the help of nonprofit organization JUMP!, which helps seniors realize their dreams, she went from an assisted living facility to a driving range.

Spencer may be 91, but she’s got a long road ahead of her.

“It’s just always been something in me that wanted to do it,” she said.

And she has 18 wheels to help her on her way.

“I think trucks, now no one’s going to agree with me I don’t imagine, but I think they’re beautiful,” she said.

Spencer’s not the usual suspect you’d see behind the wheel of a big rig, but when director of the nonprofit organization JUMP! asked seniors at her assisted living facility about their bucket lists.

“Louise spoke up and said I’d like to drive a truck and right when it came out of her mouth my jaw dropped,” said Webb Weiman, the executive director of JUMP! “I thought, we’ve done skydiving, race car driving, parasailing. We’ve never had anyone go truck driving.”

“My husband drove a truck when I was a young mother, and I wanted to drive at that time,” Spencer said. “Of course I couldn’t. It wasn’t legal for me to drive that truck, and I wasn’t trained.”

Back in her day not many women drove trucks like that, but times are shifting, and now, so is she.

According to Spencer’s driving instructor, she’s a perfect student.

“She’s just a spark plug, she’s wound up on it. It’s great,” said instructor Tom Gierock.

“I just feel whatever I want to do I can do it if it’s humanly possible,” Spencer said. “I think I can unless these tight jeans are going to keep me from it, I think I can stretch my legs and get up there.”

Spencer was excited to get up in the cab, but never nervous.

“When you get this old, you do what you have to do,” she said.

Even just cheering her on from sidelines, it’s clear that she and her can-do spirit will keep on trucking.

“What would we do without trucks?” Louise said. “They keep us moving.”