Recreational reptiles, working girls, party row entertainment, and the old favorite, lotlizards, refer to one of many sources of the negative stereotypes that curse the industry loved by many. Granted, if there wasn’t a market for prostitution in the truck stops, this post would not be necessary.
The term “lotlizard” is the most common trucker lingo used to describe these people; something rarely mentioned when the transportation companies attempt to glorify this industry in their efforts to attract much needed new drivers. Many of the families of potential quality professionals are discouraged by this and other not so favorable negative images given to us all from the media. Truth is, most of the perpetrators contributing to the demand side of this illegal activity, represents a very small percentage of the drivers. This has been the same for at least the 20+ years I have been as a trucker.
Companies should concentrate their focus (at the very least, exert more effort) informing the public that majority of the modern truckers are some of the hardest working, family oriented men and women in the country.
A few years ago, there was an episode of the television show Cops (the exact date escapes me) where a sting operation was featured arresting drivers at a Petro Fuel Center soliciting staged lotlizards. The show projected an image that a majority of the drivers parked there strictly were there to seek the services of the “working girls” slithering around the back rows of the lot. No wonder the public views us the way they do.
If this Petro was as bad as portrayed, this driver would have never went past the fuel islands. To this day, many of us who frequented this truck stop are disappointed any litigation was brought forward by either Petro, of some of the trucking companies involved in the sting.
Many of these women (and men) who venture around the lots are victims of abuse, drug addicts, abducted minors forced against their will, or runaways wanting to make a “trade” for money to buy something to eat; most actually need help to escape a bad situation.
There will always be lotlizards, something that will never disappear entirely, but the promotion of the up-side of the industry along with greater efforts to create a more positive image of the typical truck driver, is the only way we all can do to reverse this raw deal we combat daily.