NAME, AGE: Teddy Flener Jr., 25
HOMETOWN: Shepherdsville, Ky.
LAST JOB: Electrician helper
MARITAL STATUS/CHILDREN: Single, one child
WHAT SPARKED INTEREST IN A CDL: Being able to travel and make better money over the road.
FUN FACT: I coach Little League football.
It was a long couple of weeks between CDL exams for CDL or Bust student Teddy Flener Jr. Having been tripped up during the pre-trip portion of the test Sept. 14, Flener had to wait until Sept. 29 before he could take the exam again.
Now that earning his CDL is behind him, Flener said, “A lot of weight was lifted off my shoulders, [but] my career, my journey is just starting.”
CDL or Bust classmates Anna Basham and Russell Durgasingh were quietly confident while waiting for examiner Evan Harrod to arrive at the CDL test site in Louisville, Kentucky, this morning, but Teddy Flener Jr.’s nerves were on high alert.
While Basham was proudly wearing her new CDL or Bust T-shirt under her blue denim long-sleeve and big University of Louisville fan Durgasingh was talking about the 10th-ranked Cardinals’ home game on Saturday against perennial powerhouse Florida State, Flener still was studying his pre-trip inspection.
“If I don’t pass …” Flener mused at one point.
His fears proved prophetic. After Basham and Durgasingh aced their pre-trip/ in-cab portions of the exam, Flener got in the cab of the Volvo truck. When he climbed down a few minutes later, he had failed because he forgot to turn the engine off after the PSI part of his in-cab.
Teddy Flener Jr. is a trooper. Not the kind of trooper who’ll be administering the CDL exam to Flener and his six CDL or Bust classmates next week. No, Flener is a trooper because he not only dragged himself back to class today after missing yesterday with a nasty stomach bug that prompted him to drink nearly a full bottle of Pepto Bismol, but he took the time to Skype with Transport Topics not long after vomiting in his car on the way back from the test course.
“I had to rush to my dad’s house,” said the 25-year-old Flener, a former high school quarterback who recalled losing his lunch on the field a couple of times during the second of the twice-daily August practices in preparation for a football season. “Luckily, I had a change of clothes with me.”
Although they’ve known their driving instructors for less than 10 days, the seven students in Transport Topics’ CDL or Bust class have forged some bonds with them.
It’s much more a case of Professor McGonigle and Harry Potter than Sgt. Foley and Zack Mayo from “An Officer and a Gentleman.” The trainers at Truck America Training in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, are more about praise than putdowns.
Teddy Flener, Jr. is the youngest of the seven members of our CDL or Bust class, so he had fewer life experiences to draw upon as he tries to earn his commercial driver license.
However, the 25-year-old Flener is the only member of the class who had been in a position of leadership as a high school quarterback, which tends to give one a confidence booster. But Flener said he was sweating and itching from nerves when he took the CDL permit exam on Day 4. When he failed to pass the combination vehicle and air brake sections, he was down in the dumps.
At Bullitt Central High School in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, Teddy Flener Jr. lived the dream of many guys: playing quarterback and dating a cheerleader. But now that he’s 25 and a father, the electrician’s assistant is pursuing a more ambitious and lifelong dream.
“I was always fascinated by trucks,” said Flener, a CDL or Bust student who has two uncles with CDLs. “I want to travel and see the world."
Photo by John Sommers II for Transport Topics