Following in Her Father's Footsteps

Supply Chain

Three years after starting at Walmart as a driver, Kim Wilson is still focused on getting better, being safe and teaching others.

Even as she celebrates three years as a Walmart driver out of Transportation Office 6892 in Spring Valley, Illinois, Kim Wilson isn’t letting her foot off the gas. Most weeks, she extends her workweek by a day, cutting into her weekend.

“I believe that when you start a new job—and I still feel like it’s a new job—the more you do, the better you become at it,” Kim says. “I love what I do.”

Kim’s earliest memories are from the cab of her father’s truck. He drove for about 60 years before he passed away, and she often rode along. “Driving a truck supported our family with a good living, and I wanted to follow in those footsteps,” she explains.

Kim has been driving for 28 years and has 2.8 million miles.

“I feel close to my father when I’m behind the wheel,” Kim shares. “When the weather’s bad, I talk to him. Especially if I hit a patch of black ice.”

“When I’m driving, I’m careful to watch out for the vehicles around me—there are grandmothers, children and teenagers,” she explains. “And you can tell teenagers not to text and drive, but they do it anyway. I’m out there, and I see them.”

Kim appreciates Walmart’s focus on driver safety. She emphasizes it to new drivers in her role as a certified driver trainer and mentor.

The 360 and the Sterile Cab

One critical safety challenge Kim teaches new drivers involves the loading dock. “Stores with a road behind them are particularly dangerous,” Kim explains. “People use those roads as a street. Sometimes we can’t see them from our truck cabs.”

That’s why Kim always performs “the 360.” She gets out of the cab and walks a full circle around her tractor-trailer before backing into the loading dock. “Without it, I might’ve backed into somebody. I always teach new Walmart drivers the 360.”

As a Walmart certified driver trainer, Kim also teaches new drivers how to use the tablet and all about Walmart culture. Perhaps most importantly, she offers driving tips.

“Some drivers develop bad habits,” she explains. “They have to adapt and be open-minded to our high level of safety to get to the skill level Walmart requires.”

Another Walmart driver safety policy is called the Sterile Cab. “Once you turn onto Walmart property, you turn off your music. You crack your window to hear your surroundings,” she says. “There are shopping carts, bales, pallets, customers, cars, children and other trucks. Once you get to store property, your focus has to be up at 1,000%.”

Walmart Is Family

“Four months after I started at Walmart, I had my annual mammogram,” Kim recalls. “The doctor told me that I would immediately be placed in the hospital for treatment.”

When she heard the news, Kim called Cherissa Carrico, her human resources office manager. “I was worried about keeping my job. Cherissa always supported me,” Kim says. “Even when I just needed to cry, she cried with me. Walmart is family.”

“She’s my rockstar,” Cherissa says.

Kim appreciates the support she receives from the company. “If you want to be treated like a person and not a number and be valued for what you do, come work at Walmart,” Kim says. “Walmart invests a lot into us. I love my job!”