A self-proclaimed “chili pepper with Mexican roots,” Dottie Eberhart can be as feisty as a hot pepper, but also as sweet as a raisin tamale.
Prior to driving truck, Dottie was a home health aide, dedicating herself to caring for the elderly. It’s something she continues to do on a volunteer basis when she’s off the road and back home in Kansas City, Kan. Dottie drives a CRST Expedited dedicated route between Kansas City and Phoenix with her husband, Russ Searles.
“In my professional driving career, I treat my fellow drivers with the same compassion, patience and respect as I do my elderly patients,” says Dottie. “One of the things I like most about driving for CRST is meeting, getting to know and helping fellow drivers. I met my husband while out on the road and recruited him to CRST. We love our driver manager, Scott Comer, being our own bosses, getting paid to travel and helping others out. We met another team of co-drivers by helping them get their Hazmat squared away in Phoenix; and by happenstance, we ended up at the same drop-off in Kansas City. We’re now all friends.”
Female Truck Drivers Need to Watch Their Backs
Don’t let Dottie’s sweetness and her five-foot-and-a-few-inches stature fool you. Although she’s always “watching her six,” she’s not afraid to stand her ground when it comes to machismo at truck stops.
“I’ve had male drivers wait at the door for me to open it for them,” says Dottie. “I’ll open it, walk in and close the door back on them. I’ve also had male drivers pass me, realize I was a women, and then slow way down and not let me pass them. To that, I pull out my patience card. Safety and patience are really important — there is plenty of time to get there and to get there safely.”
It should come as no surprise that Dottie, who has driven for CRST for more than 10 years, was recognized by CRST this month for achieving one million miles of safe and accident-free driving. She says that Russ, her “sweet and mellow teddy bear” of a husband, is on track to become a Million-Miler, too, by next year.
Be a Role Model for Women
When asked about her female role model, Dottie cited her mother and namesake, Dorothy Robleado. Dorothy lost her first husband from the “old country of Mexico” when she was the 20-year-old mother of four children. She had another six children, including Dottie, her youngest, and whose father died when her mother was pregnant with her.
“My mother never took welfare,” said Dottie. “She bought a house with $100 of the $300 she was making each month.”
Dottie says that women have brawn and should always try do what may seem a man’s job or something out of our comfort zones. Women might fail, but “at least we tried, and if we succeed, kudos to us.”
What does it take to be a female role model? Here is Dottie’s advice to young girls: “Be honest with yourself and others — know that who you are, is enough. Live your life as a survivor and not as a victim, or you’ll wilt. Have faith, be kind and patient, and love like there’s no tomorrow.”