Things didn't work out, an' I was down on my luck. Got tired of roamin' and bummin' around, So I started thumbin' back east, toward my home town. Now, I made a lotta miles the first few days, I figured I'd be home in a week if my luck held out this way. But the third night out, I got stranded way out of town. At a cold lonely crossroads: rain was pouring down.
I was hungry an' freezin' an' done caught a chill, When the lights of a big semi topped the hill. Lord, I sure was glad to hear them air brakes come on. An 'I climbed in that cab where I knew it'd be warm.
At the wheel sat a big man, he weighed about 210. He stuck out his hand and said with a grin: 'Big Joe's the name,' an' I told him mine. He said: 'The name of my rig is Phantom 309.'
Well, I asked him why he called his rig such a name, He said: 'Son, this ol' Mac can put 'em all to shame. 'Well, there ain't a driver or rig runnin any line, 'That's seen nothin' but taillights from Phantom 309.'
Well, we rode and talked the better part of the night, When the lights of a truck stop came in sight. He said: 'I'm sorry, son, this is far as you go. ''Cause I gotta make a turn just on up the road.'
Well, he tossed me a dime as he pulled her in low, An' said: 'Have yourself a hot cup on old Big Joe.' When Joe an' his rig roared out into the night, Iin nothing flat, he was clean outta sight.
Well, I went inside an' ordered me a cup, An' told the waiter Big Joe was a-settin' me up. Aw, you could of heard a pin drop: it got deathly quiet, An' the waiter's face turned kinda white.
'Well, did I say somethin' wrong?' I said with a half way grin. He said: 'Naw.' This happened every now an' then. 'Every driver in here knows Big Joe. 'But son, let me tell you what happened about 10 years ago.
'At the crossroads tonight, where you flagged him down, 'There was a bus load of kids a-comin' from town. 'An' they were right in the middle when Big Joe topped the hill. 'It could have been slaughter but he turned his wheels.
'Well, Joe lost control an' went into a skid.¦ 'Gave his life to save that bunch of kids. 'There, at that crossroads, was the end of the line, 'Fore Big Joe an' Phantom 309.
'But every now and then, some hiker will come by, 'An', like you, Big Joe will give him a ride. 'Here, have another cup an' forget about the dime. 'Keep it as a souvenier from Big Joe and Phantom 309.'