Many of you might know Mike Gaffin but you might not even know it. Known as “The Boston Trucker” on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook, Mike has thousands of fans and followers that look at his random trucking-related videos and pictures that he posts every day. In 2009, Mike created a YouTube channel called The Boston Trucker. Mike started out posting various things that would happen during his day while trucking, and in just a few short years, over five thousand truck enthusiasts and other drivers have subscribed to his channel, giving him a loyal following.
In 2014, Mike began an Instagram page @thebostontrucker to promote his YouTube page. The Instagram page really took off, and today he has over 48,000 followers. He still posts on the YouTube channel, but most of his focus is now on Instagram. Posting videos and pictures daily, it has become a passion and addiction to share the (mostly) positive side of trucking. This is how it all started – and why he has so many followers. Mike is excited to hit the 50,000 milestone soon, and I think there will be 100,000 sooner than he thinks.
Shell Rotella took notice of Mike’s popularity on Instagram and contacted him in 2017 about attending the Shell SuperRigs show in Tulsa, OK. They flew Mike to Tulsa and he documented, in videos and pictures, the entire event and then posted it all on his pages. Shell said that Mike is a “social media influencer” – which is a pretty impressive title, if you ask me.
Mike is an old friend, and I’ve always said he is one of the good guys out here. He’s always been based out of the Boston area, and recently I was in Massachusetts and had the opportunity to ride with him a round. I started my career dump trucking, and it was fun to get back into a dump truck for a little trip. I had to laugh when, after he dumped his first load, he got out and wiped the dust off the hood.
Back in 1976, David Gaffin took his sons, Mike and Eric, to their first truck show at the Commonwealth Pier in Boston (see old pic). At just six years old, the hook for trucking and showing was set. Fast forward 20 years, and it was at the Walcott Truckers Jamboree in 1996 that I first met Mike Gaffin, who was showing the Bud Meyer company truck he was driving, back then.
Even though he has always been a company driver, Mike treats the truck he drives with an owner operator mentality. Polishing and cleaning on his company ride, he was just as proud as any one of the owner operators at any of the shows we attended together. His dad has always talked him out of becoming an owner operator, but I think if he ever did buy his own truck, he would be successful. Back in the late 90s, Mike did ten national truck shows a year. The money and time for chrome and truck washes all came out of Mike’s own pocket, but the pride and friendships he made over the years were worth it.
You couldn’t do this today, but back then, Mike would ride with his dad, sitting on a milk crate, in his White 9000. A vivid memory that Mike still has etched in his mind is of his big strong dad reaching over him and closing the passenger door when it would pop open. His dad used to say, “Over my dead body you will drive a truck,” but he still took Mike along in the summer. He taught him all about driving the truck, and even let him drive while he would take a nap out on the open road, saying, “Keep it straight!”
In 1989, Mike got his license and was “legal” to drive intrastate. His first job was local, working for East Coast Truck & Trailer in Waleole, MA, picking up damaged trucks and trailers and bringing them back to the shop. His next job was with Land Transport out of Framingham, MA. He signed-on to run local, but one night a driver called in sick and there was a hot load going to Indiana. The boss asked Mike, “Can you do it?” Needless to say, he took off for Indiana and never looked back. At 18 he started running Boston to LA, and only got caught once. Lucky for Mike, the officer was ready to go home, so he just told him to get out of his state!
By the time he was 22 years old, Mike already had four years of driving experience, but most companies wanted drivers to be no younger than 23. He picked up a pamphlet for Bud Meyer out of Lake City, MN and saw that they were hiring drivers – and you only had to be 22. The first truck he drove there was a Peterbilt 362 cabover. This match lasted for three years, then Mike decided to go to work for Walmart. After only a year, he was put on probation when a safety man heard Mike say sh*t on the CB.
Talking to an old friend at Bud Meyer, he told Mike that they were getting in some new 379 Peterbilts, and he was sure Mike could come back to work there if he wanted to. The lure of those 379s was enough for Mike to make the switch back to Bud Meyer, where he worked for three more years, until they merged with Covenant. From 2000 to 2008, Mike drove for New Century Transport out of Westampton, NJ, until they went out of business.
While at New Century, in 2003, Mike married Norma, who has always been supportive of Mike’s OTR career. But, after she got pregnant in 2005 and then their son Nathan was born in 2006, Mike decided it was time to get off the road to be home to help raise the kids. In 2010, their daughter Simone was born. Being home while the kids are growing up is most important.
Around 2009, Mike started his dump truck career, running for Sam’s Transportation in Georgetown, MA. This job only lasted one year before he got laid off because of the bad economy, but while there, he got to drive some large W900s and 379s hauling dirty dirt. From 2010 to 2014 he drove for Boston Bark in a green 379 Pete that he turned into a show truck. When the owner sold the property, Mike decided it was time to get out, which led him to his current job, which he loves.
After driving for several different outfits, Mike says he now thinks he’s found the company he will one day retire from – A. Cardillo & Sons out of Waltham, MA. They have been in the excavation and construction business for 70 years. Mike works six days a week, hauling dirt and heavy equipment, and plows snow in the winter. He drives a very good-looking dark red 2007 W900L with a 565 Cummins and an 18-speed, which he cares for like it was his own.
Mike is a great representative for truckers and the trucking industry. He puts a real face on who we are, as drivers, and lets people see what we do on a daily basis. And after 30 years, his dad has come to terms with Mike following in his wheel tracks, and both he and his mom Paula are proud of their trucker son. And, since retiring in 2009, his parents have also become dedicated followers of their son on social media! If you don’t follow Mike “The Boston Trucker” Gaffin yet, you should.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks to Mike Gaffin for providing all the great old photos showing many of the trucks he has driven over the years.