JESSUP, MARYLAND — XPO driver Steadman “Steve” Mitchell quickly braked but didn’t flinch or seem surprised as a driver in a pickup truck cut him off during a delivery run last week.

An XPO (and previously, Conway) driver for more than 20 of his 30-plus years behind the wheel, Mitchell embodies what the LTL carrier wants in its workforce: an unflappable problem solver, safely doing what’s necessary to meet customers’ needs.

“Driving has changed so much,” Mitchell said. “To make it home safe is a big deal to me.”

Trucking Dive joined Mitchell on the roughly 15-mile, local delivery run from XPO’s Jessup terminal for a glimpse into the day-to-day life of a driver in 2024 from the cab of his Freightliner Cascadia Evolution.

He shared insights and on-the-road observations during the two-hour morning route, which brought him to a grocery warehouse, a prison commissary supply facility, a Costco and a luxury fitness club.

The 65-year-old’s work demonstrated the daily demands on drivers and the consistency of Mitchell’s approach — whether he was waiting at a high-security site or dodging gym-goers at the front desk before their workouts.

XPO driver Steadman "Steve" Mitchell makes a delivery at grocery distributor M&K Food in Elkridge.
Steadman "Steve" Mitchell makes a delivery at grocery distributor M&K Food in Elkridge, Md.
Colin Campbell/Trucking Dive


After a vehicle check, the first leg of the trip was a 3.5-mile delivery of six pallets of cold cup lids to grocery supplier M&K Food’s facility on Dorsey Run Road in Elkridge.

As Mitchell drove, he described riding in trucks as young as 5 years old with his Uncle Ritchie, an independent truck driver, when he was growing up in Washington, D.C.

Mitchell has another professional driver in his family these days. His wife, Cheryl, who makes him a fruit cup for breakfast each morning, is a subway operator for the Maryland Transit Administration in Baltimore.

Mitchell packs a lunchbox with a ham-and-cheese sandwich, which he prefers to fast food on the road. If XPO allowed it, he’d bring the couple’s 16-month-old Rottweiler, Sampson, with him in the truck, too.

Mitchell backed up the 28-foot pup trailer to the grocery supplier’s only open loading dock. Then, he went inside to search the cold, dimly-lit warehouse for a receiving representative who could sign for the delivery. It only took a minute.

The driver scanned a QR code on the side of each pallet as he helped the warehouse workers unload. The largest of the dropoffs, it also was one of the quickest — and a warehouse worker ushered Mitchell to free up the loading dock soon after he returned to the cab.

XPO driver Steadman "Steve" Mitchell scans a pallet of cup lids as it comes off his truck at M&K Food.
Steadman "Steve" Mitchell scans the QR code on each pallet with his handheld as it comes off the truck.
Colin Campbell/Trucking Dive


Tuesday’s “wave” run of customers near the service center was unfamiliar and shorter than Mitchell’s usual local 10 a.m.-3 p.m. weekday route, when he makes anywhere from seven to a dozen deliveries to a handful of the same customer facilities.

But, as he said, the shipments needed to go out.

The second one contained shampoo bound for the Maryland Correctional Training Center, a Western Maryland prison.

After initially being misdirected to a business next door by a driver in the parking lot, Mitchell passed a guard outside, signed in and waited at a security gate at Keefe Commissary Network.

A Keefe worker with a forklift unloaded the trailer, placing the shampoo pallets on the warehouse floor not far from a pallet of Little Debbie snack cakes.

The initial confusion delayed the arrival time while Mitchell made a call to check the address, but he figured it out in a matter of minutes, and the delivery itself was finished in about 10 minutes.

Mitchell’s constant smile and “I’ll-take-care-of-it” attitude make him one of the Jessup terminal’s top drivers, said Amy Kirtz, an XPO customer service representative at the facility.

“He’s dependable,” Kirtz said. “You can count on him.”

Steadman "Steve" Mitchell delivers a pallet of Michelin windshield wiper blades to Costco in Elkridge, Md.
Colin Campbell/Trucking Dive


A Costco employee near the rear entrance greeted Mitchell with a grumble about no one calling ahead to make an appointment for the dropoff.

The chilly reception didn’t seem to bother the longtime driver, and he carried on with the delivery: a pallet of windshield wiper blades.

Nor did another worker’s less-than-appreciative tone in remarking that the Costco had just received five pallets of wiper blades.

Like anybody, Mitchell acknowledged, he’s had days when people get to him.

But he’s one of the best at keeping one rough interaction from spoiling the next, even if it’s just down the road, said Chad Hilton, the Jessup service center manager.

Driving a truck can be a taxing job, after all, even if every conversation goes well.

“He’s the one that doesn’t get rattled,” Hilton said.

XPO driver Steadman Mitchell asks the front desk attendant at Life Time where he should drop off a delivery.
Steadman "Steve" Mitchell asks the front desk attendant at Life Time in Columbia, Md., where he should drop off a delivery.
Colin Campbell/Trucking Dive


It was difficult to imagine a starker contrast from the prison commissary warehouse than Mitchell’s final delivery destination: Life Time, a luxury fitness club in Columbia. 

Ellipticals and stationary bicycles overlook the sunlit lobby from a balcony above a café, and an Olympic-sized outdoor pool features a double water slide and a beach club area.

Ascertaining where to drop off a pallet of plastic bottles took a few minutes, as the front-desk attendant’s attention was diverted by four separate members scanning in for weekday morning workouts.

On the road, too, Mitchell has noticed the increase in people working remotely or outside regular business hours. Traffic backups are no longer contained to peak rush hours.

“Nobody works a normal 9-to-5 anymore,” he said.

XPO driver Steadman Mitchell pulls the pallet of plastic bottles to the fitness club’s rear service entrance.
Steadman "Steve" Mitchell pulls the pallet of plastic bottles to the fitness club’s rear service entrance.
Colin Campbell/Trucking Dive

Mitchell steered the truck past the pool behind the fitness club building, whisked the last pallet off the trailer with his pallet jack, and had another club employee sign for the delivery.

As he drove back toward the Jessup terminal, an automated voice chimed from his company handheld device, assigning him a door for the trailer upon his return.

Mitchell said he has enjoyed his more than three decades behind the wheel, and he isn’t ready to hang up the keys yet.

“I’ve got another 2 or 3 years before I retire,” he said.

Shaun Lucas, Visuals Editor, contributed to this article.