When you’re working in the oil patch thousands of miles from home, friends are more important than ever. Just ask Kelvin Lacey, Alfredo Cantu and Julio Pulido.
Lacy, Cantu and Pulido (left, center and right in the above photograph) are from Southern California, Detroit and Chicago, respectively. The men drive water trucks for a firm in Tioga, N.D. I met them at a Mexican restaurant in nearby Stanley, where it was Julio’s turn to buy dinner. Lacey and Cantu teased him about ordering extra food just so his bill would be a little higher. When the men get a little free time, they drive to Minot, a bigger city east of the oil patch, to watch movies or go grocery shopping. Cantu says he’s never seen so many movies with guys before.
A couple of footnotes to this story. Before arriving in N.D., Pulido spent more than five years driving trucks in Iraq for Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR), a U.S. military contractor. Pulido says the gravel roads in North Dakota remind him of roads in Iraq. Lacy, an African-American, says locals in the oil patch — a region that is overwhelmingly white — have treated him kindly. However, a little girl reached out to touch his hand while he was waiting in line at a Wal-Mart. The girl’s mother apologized, saying, the girl hadn’t seen an African-American before.