Thanksgiving truckers: Holiday spent on the road

TOPEKA (KSNT)- Imagine having a Thanksgiving feast at a fast food restaurant miles away your family.

Not the reality most people face, but for Paul and Kathleen Sakis, it’s become the norm, “You have your thoughts about spending Thanksgiving with your family that’s for sure,” Paul Sakis said. “But you know you reflect on the ones that you did though.”

Paul is a truck driver who takes his wife and two dogs, Suzie Q, and Buster Brown everywhere they go. The couple has seven grown children  they rarely see on the holidays. Despite being away from family they still make the most of their holidays, “Here we have homemade meat loaf with scalloped potatoes and vegetables,” Kathleen Sakis said while showing her home cooked meal from a fridge inside her husband’s truck.

That meal will be their Thanksgiving dinner, but for lunch they had the same idea as about a dozen other truckers, “Spangles, they’re pretty good though,” Anthony Barnes, trucker driver said.“I just had a burger from Spangles earlier, first time having it but they’re pretty good though.”

Even though Spangles doesn’t serve turkey dinners and mash potatoes, or any dishes you would commonly see at a Thanksgiving feast, what it does offer truck drivers is the chance to hang out in a warm place, and have a good cheese burger.

That’s what brought 25-year-old Anthony Barnes into the fast-food restaurant on Thursday afternoon. Even with the day off he spent his entire Thanksgiving sitting alone at a booth because he was too far from family to make it home. As he waited for time to pass so he could get on the road, he told us he still dreams about the day when he can celebrate the holidays at home, “Yeah just one day, one day, but not right now though,” Barnes said. “I’m still young, and I’m just trying to make the best out of my career.”

That attitude is key to surviving holidays on the road, according to senior driver Sakis,”You can’t spend your time thinking about, ‘Oh yeah, poor me, oh, I’m picked on, you know whatever,” Sakis said jokingly.  “Just do it and shut up about it.” Advice all of could probably use once in a while.

The truckers were among the nearly 40 million people who, according to AAA were expected to be on the highway traveling more than 50 miles from home this Thanksgiving.

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