Story from the Mississiauga News of Ontario, Canada:
By: Louie RosellaMarch 27, 2009 10:56 AM - Caitlyn Norman is carrying a lot more than a beat-up car or mangled SUV when she's out on the road.
The scrappy, 21-year-old Mississauga woman is carrying the weight of every person in her life who told her she's crazy for wanting to become a tow truck driver.
But Norman said she uses the criticism as motivation to succeed when she takes to the road in her tow truck and prepares for battle with competitors at accident scenes.
"I've struggled and come across some rough times with other drivers, but I don't give in to them," she said. "A woman can do anything a man can. Tow truck drivers have bad reputations, but I got into this to try to educate people that not every tow truck driver is a bad person."
Norman is one of a handful of female tow truck drivers in the city. She has been with Lyons Auto Body, on and off, since she was 18.
"This person is an exceptionally hard-working young woman. When she is given a challenge or a responsibility, it gets done," said Lyons production manager Joe Couto. "She has the courage and determination to go up against some of the drivers out there."
Norman started working at Lyons as a co-op student through her school's auto body repairs department.
She fulfilled that responsibility until she developed Carpal tunnel syndrome in her wrists.
"We felt that she was too valuable to let go and she was then placed as an assistant parts-sorting person," said Couto.
But that didn't pay much and, struggling to make ends meet, Norman decided to waitress until a better opening came up at Lyons.
Last year, she worked as a truck driver for Lyons, travelling back and forth to Florida picking up trailers and motorcycles.
Norman admitted that when she approached Couto about a tow truck driving position last fall, "I had to convince him that I would be safe and be alright out there."
Still, Norman says she doesn't want to drive a tow truck for the rest of her life. She's taking college courses and hopes to get involved in sales or customer service.
Couto said she can work for Lyons as long as she likes.
"She is proof of the changing world of women who can do what it takes to earn an honest living and survive the economic times that the world is in today," he said. "Caitlyn is truly a survivor who has been knocked down many times and knows how to get back up even stronger."
Lyons also employs another female tow truck driver — Rebecca Smith, 35, of Mississauga, a mother of four.