“Are We There Yet?”

Stephanie GrandestaffPrime Good Dads

How many fathers have heard this question from the back seat of the car? Is it time? Can I have it now? When will it be time to __________?

Waiting is perhaps one of the most important and difficult things a child learns to master. The ability to wait, to manage one’s impulses, to delay gratification has been linked to all kinds of positive outcomes for children. It’s not small matter to learn. And it’s not easy either.

Prime Driver, Bul Dut, knows more than most people about the challenges of waiting. Bul grew up in South Sudan and was living there when civil war broke out in 1987. He became one of “The Lost Boys of Sudan,” a name given to over 20,000 boys from South Sudanese tribes, the majority of which were from the Nuer and Dinka ethic groups. These boys were displaced or orphaned during the Second Sudanese Civil way, which lasted until 2005. During this time about two million were killed and many others suffered devastating consequences. The “Lost Boys” fled South Sudan and walked hundreds or miles to refugee camps in Ethiopia where they lived for several years. Eventually, they were resettled in major U.S. cities throughout the United States.

Bul was scheduled to be resettled in the U.S. in September 2001. He was notified on the first Sunday in September that he would be leaving the camp in Kenya, where he was living at the time, to be relocated in America. On Tuesday, September 11, “9-11” occurred and refugee resettlement came to a standstill. Two years later, in 2003 Bul was finally allowed to move to the United States and resettled in Virginia.

Bul admits that waiting was hard, but he made the most of his time. He earned his high school diploma—something that allowed him to pursue and earn a bachelor’s degree in business management in 2009 and an MBA in 2017. He married and gained employment in community banking where he worked for seven years.

Although Bul enjoyed his work, his wages were insufficient to meet the needs of his growing family that now included two daughters, currently ages 2 and 4. Together, he and his wife decided he would become an over-the-road driver for Prime. This is how, beginning in March 2019, Bul Dut became an over-the-road driver for Prime, Inc. Today he proudly asserts, “I get to tour the country in the cheapest way and I earn a better living for my family.”

People sometimes worry about potential danger associated with trucking, but Bul explains that the bank where he worked was robbed twice. After what he experienced in Africa and as a bank employee, driving a truck seems like a reasonably safe occupation for him.

As a family man, Bul enjoys simple things—like taking his young daughters to Chick-fil-A and allowing them to play in the playground area. When he’s not at home, he stays in touch with his wife and children with regular Skyping. His advice, “Pay attention to the clock and the time zone. Young children have different schedules. If you want to talk with them, you need to pull over and call when they’re available to talk.”

Being a good dad requires patience—an area where Bul is a great model for us all. He waited a long time to see the United States. He worked hard to make his place in a new country. He continues to work at being a good dad and a good driver. There’s much we all can learn from listening to his story and following his example.

To hear more of Bul’s story, check out his Good Dads Podcast: Part I & Part II.