‘You are never alone’: Knight driver Rosalinda Tejada works to help others

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‘You are never alone’: Knight driver Rosalinda Tejada works to help others
Rosalinda Tejada, a driver for Knight Transportation, accepts recognition as one of the Truckload Carriers Association’s Professional Drivers of the Year during the group’s annual convention, held in Nashville in March. (Courtesy: Truckload Carriers Association)

In March, Rosalinda Tejada, a driver for Phoenix-based Knight Transportation, was honored as a Professional Driver of the Year by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA). As she and four other drivers took the stage to accept their awards during the association’s annual convention, the group was met with thunderous applause and a standing ovation from attendees.

When Tejada was told she’d been selected for the honor, she was sure that there’d been some kind of mistake.

“I was shocked,” Tejada told The Trucker. “I thought they were jiving me!”

But jiving they were not.

“They told me that it was because of the help I give to others and the dedication I have to my job,” she said. “Knowledge is power — and if we have it, we need to pass it on to others. It’s not just for me to keep.”

Tejada’s personal story is one of strength and resilience.

Surviving abusive relationships, dealing with the diagnosis of both lupus and fibromyalgia and the tragic shooting of a sibling, Tejada has turned those experiences into a life of serving others and training the next generation.

Born in Arizona, part of a military family she spent her formative years in Germany.

“I started first grade in German school,” Tejada said. “Back then they didn’t have American schooling for us. We were there when the Berlin Wall came down. My mom actually has a piece of the wall. I remember hiding in a bunker for three months because they thought there was going to be a war. I didn’t really understand what was happening at the time, and that experience has always impacted me.”

When her stepfather retired from the military, the family moved to Kansas and opened up the first Mexican restaurant in the area. Ready for a new start in America, Tejada’s life soon became turbulent.

After escaping an abusive relationship, she decided it was time to take control of her own life, and she started looking for a way to support herself. As she was making those plans, tragedy struck her family.

“My brother got shot by his best friend,” Tejada said. “His best friend was trying to commit suicide. My brother was a Christian, and he went over to try and talk him out of it. He ended up shooting my brother in his neck. The friend took him to the hospital and just dumped him out; then went into hiding until he was found and arrested.”

While her brother survived the shooting, he was paralyzed from the waist down, and Tejada took on the task of caregiving for her brother. With mounting medical bills, Tejada said, “I felt like I was drowning.”

At one of the darkest moments in Tejada’s life, a light revealed itself.

Her uncle, a driver for Knight Transportation, suggested that she get her CDL. While she was hesitant to do so at first because of her family responsibilities, Tejada realized this was her chance to achieve her dreams. Driving a big rig would allow her to take care of herself and her family.

“The traveling aspect appealed to me the most,” she said.

“When I was deciding which company to go with, I looked into different companies. The reason I chose Knight over all the other companies was their safety,” she said.

“I love their history. I talked to other drivers. I went to other places to visit too, but I really liked what Knight stood for,” she continued. “They have an open-door policy. I love their (dedication to) safety and that they do hair follicle drug testing. When I started out elsewhere, companies didn’t have that. You had people out there driving on all kinds of drugs.”

After driving for five years, Tejada had to take a break and help care for her brother once again. During this time, she became certified as a registered certified medical assistant. She was instrumental in not only caring for her brother, but also being a part of a team dedicated to caring for COVID-19 patients and helping to spearhead vaccination clinics.

Working alongside Dr. Cara Christ, the director of health for the Arizona Department of Health Services, Tejada had the opportunity to promote vaccinations. She even vaccinated the likes of the Arizona Cardinals, Mike Tyson and Michael Phelps. She received an award from the state for her efforts and received a FaceTime thank you from President Joe Biden.

Now back in the trucking industry, Tejada says she sees training others as an essential part of her job.

“I try to put myself in their shoes,” Tejada said. “I remember being nervous and scared. I also give everyone a welcome pack to help them feel more at home. It’s kind of like a beach bag with pockets and I load it up with snacks, drinks, Advil, Tums, just things you are going to need. I want them to feel special and welcome in my truck.”

Another way Tejada gives back is pouring wisdom gained from her personal experiences into the lives of other women.

“I volunteer at a women’s shelter, and I take my truck,” Tejada said. “I talk to the ladies about truck driving — how it saved me.

“I let them know that there is hope and let them know that they gotta find their self-worth,” she continued. “(I tell them) they could be independent, and there IS a light at the end of the tunnel.”

In the little free time that she has, Tejada says she and her husband Ed love spending time outdoors.

“For fun, I love to go fishing. I like the outdoors and I like going camping riding my Can-Am (ATV) — get some dirt dust therapy as I call it,” she said with a laugh.

Whether volunteering at a women’s shelter, driving for Knight, spending time with her family or getting a little of that “dust therapy,” one thing is obvious: Tejada sees her life as a testimony that allows her to help those in need.

“I want to be a message for others,” Tejada said.

“I didn’t know it at the time, but all of the struggles that I went through made me a stronger person, a wiser person, and I want to pass that along,” she said. “I didn’t have anyone to guide me through those times. I want to be that person who helps guide others, so they know they are not alone. I want people to know it’s going to be okay.”

Dana Guthrie

Dana Guthrie is an award-winning journalist who has been featured in multiple newspapers, books and magazines across the globe. She is currently based in the Atlanta, Georgia, area.

Avatar for Dana Guthrie
Dana Guthrie is an award-winning journalist who has been featured in multiple newspapers, books and magazines across the globe. She is currently based in the Atlanta, Georgia, area.
For over 30 years, the objective of The Trucker editorial team has been to produce content focused on truck drivers that is relevant, objective and engaging. After reading this article, feel free to leave a comment about this article or the topics covered in this article for the author or the other readers to enjoy. Let them know what you think! We always enjoy hearing from our readers.


What a great story Tejada tells. She is a great role model to the men and women she comes in contact with daily. She is so deserving of this award and more. Congratulations Tejada!

Rosalinda is such an inspiring person and an outstanding representation of the kind of amazing folks who are out on the roadways. I saw her speak on a panel at the TCA Safety and Security meeting recently in which she and others on the panel shared a lot of valuable insight on today’s challenges truck drivers face and how they maintain safety as a top priority in their career and daily operations. Congratulations, Rosalinda Tejada!!