New York truck driver Ashley Ristau enjoys making other people laugh. She created a YouTube channel a year ago, called Lilly Trucker, with the goal of making a positive space online where truckers could come for some light-hearted entertainment.
She created two characters for her channel, Lilly Trucker and Mudflap. Mudflap is a gear-jamming super trucker who is confident in her trucking skills. Lilly Trucker is the opposite. She knows everything she needs to be the best truck driver but she’s still not confident in her abilities.
Ristau vlogs from the characters’ perspectives and posts comedy skits featuring them.
“You can always take your worst days and turn them around and make a positive. If you can take the negative and find the positive in it, sometimes you can find the humor in it also,” Ristau said.
Ristau’s channel has over 1,000 subscribers in its first year. She doesn’t know where she’ll end up going with it but she said it means a lot to her when drivers reach out to tell her she helped make their rough day better.
“It melts my heart. It gives me confidence to know I’m going to reach all of my goals,” Ristau said.
Ristau is from near Albany, New York. She drives locally for Buanno Transport Company hauling reefer and dry van. In the next few months Ristau plans to get her Thruway authority so she can haul double 48-foot trailers. She’ll still be a local driver but she’ll be able to get more traveling in.
“I’ll be branching out farther but I still won’t be an over-the-road driver or a regional driver. I’ll just be a doubles driver. That’s what I’m working toward,” Ristau said.
Ristau got started in trucking through her boyfriend, John Cerasuolo. He was an OTR driver and she fell in love with the view through the windshield when she did ride-alongs with him. She didn’t attend a trucking school but rather was trained by Cerasuolo, and the other veteran drivers at her company. She was the first woman driver to be trained for Buanno Transport.
“They all took me in. It just kind of touches me still because they wanted me to be the best driver I could be,” Ristau said.