'While You Were Sleeping': Drivers stop in, fill up all night long at local truck stop

Pilot Flying J provides everything from snacks to showers for truckers

By Katrina Webber - Crime Fighters Reporter, Tim Stewart - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - The open road can be a dark, lonely place, especially in the overnight hours.

For those in the driver’s seat, a truck stop can be like a light in that darkness.

“It's pretty quiet. It's calm,” said Mari Mejia, whose job involves brightening things up for drivers in the middle of the night.

She has been working at the Pilot Flying J truck stop near Interstate 10 and Foster Road for the past two years.

“I like it. You get a lot of regular customers that come in and you get to know them,” she said.

The mother of six purposely chooses to work the graveyard shift—from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m.—often forgoing a full night’s rest herself.

“I drink lots of coffee,” Mejia said. “I have my children. It works out with my schedule with them. I get off in time to get them ready to go to school.”

She also helps to get drivers back on the road.

Whether they stop in for a soda or shower, a snack or a souvenir, she has them covered.

There also are of lot of other items the stop supplies that are a bit more unexpected.

“Chargers. They even have bags, duffel bags. Socks,” Mejia said.

The aisles inside the convenience store are full of products for people as well as parts for their trucks or cars, almost anything someone would need miles away from home.

Being able to be home with her family more is what Mejia enjoys most about the odd work schedule.

While she is on the clock, though, her goal is to make things more enjoyable for others, helping drivers to have a smoother ride on the road.

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