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Taylor Swift gives US$100,000 bonuses to Eras Tour truck drivers


Taylor Swift is going out in “Style.”


On the eve of wrapping up the U.S. leg of her wildly successful Eras Tour, Swift on Monday thanked a slew of crew members who have done serious heavy lifting on the road with her — among them, the tour’s truck drivers — with a hefty bonus.


Swift stunned the tour’s trucking staff by giving each trucker a check in the amount of US$100,000, Michael Scherkenbach, founder and CEO of Denver, Colorado-based Shomotion trucking company, told CNN.


Shomotion is one of two transportation companies used by the tour, he said. “My company handles transportation of the stage and structure, pretty much the skeleton that everything hangs on at the concert venue.”


While Scherkenbach declined to disclose how many of his staff received the six-figure bonus, he said it was a total of nearly 50 members of the combined trucking crews.


The “generous” amount, he said, far exceeds the standard expected bonus. “The typical amount is US$5,000 to US$10,000 each. So this large amount is unbelievable.”


But more than that, Scherkenbach said it is a “life-changing” amount of money.


“These men and women, they live on the road. They sleep during the day and work all night,” he said. “It’s a grueling task. They leave their families, young children for weeks. For Taylor’s tour, they’ve been away from home for 24 weeks.”


To receive US$100,000 is a down payment on a house or college tuition for a child, he said. “Look, fair wage doesn’t put you in a position to buy a home. But this opens up that possibility.”


A SURPRISE MEETING


Scherkenbach said his drivers were flabbergasted when they were called into what they thought was a routine production meeting ahead of a concert. It was anything but that.


“We’re in L.A. and I call a meeting on Monday to go over the rundown for the L.A. concerts this week at SoFi Stadium,” he said. Then Swift’s father, Scott Swift, made a surprise visit.


The “Taylor family is always present and kind to our drivers but Scott generally doesn’t lead the meeting,” said Scherkenbach. “Scott gave a speech saying that he had discussed this with Taylor and they thought that it was only right that everybody received a bonus. Taylor insisted on writing a handwritten note to each driver and [added] a wax seal on the envelope with her monogram.”


Each envelope stated the amount of the bonus. “The drivers didn’t want to be overly rude and look at it. But one looked and thought it said US$1,000, another driver saw it as US$10,000 and then the third said ‘Well this has to be a joke!’” Scherkenbach said. After the letter, the checks were given with the corresponding tax document.


In addition to his staff, Scherkenbach said other tour crew members, including those in catering, video, audio and lighting, also received bonuses.


CNN has reached out to Swift for comment.



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