Roses & Razzberries – June 2020
RAZZBERRIES for brokers and shippers who were taking advantage of the situation and flooding the markets with cheap rates. This situation has been tough enough on everybody already without these bottom feeders making it worse. Truckers are literally on the front lines, delivering everything we need to survive this pandemic, and anyone taking advantage of that fact ought to be ashamed of themselves.
While we’re at it, ROSES to the Houston Police Department for launching an investigation into the wage theft claimed by a number of drivers who staged a protest in that city. The drivers were cited for various offenses, of course, and most police departments would have just left it at that. But not Houston.
We don’t know how long the investigation will take or where it will lead, but the fact that it is happening at all is a testament to Police Chief Art Acevedo and the Houston Police Department. Thank you for taking those complaints seriously.
ROSES to WJZY, a Fox affiliate out of Charlotte, N.C. The TV station has been doggedly reporting on truckers being booted by unscrupulous towing companies during the COVID-19 outbreak and even got at least one company to back down and refund some money. As if that wasn’t enough, they’ve also gone to bat for truckers over parking. They reached out to state Rep. Nasif Majeed, D-Mecklenburg County, and shared the aforementioned stories about truckers being booted. In response, Majeed said he wants to work toward creating more parking spaces for truckers along interstates and wants the state to purchase land to make that happen. He’s even reached out to the governor’s office. We give a lot of grief to the mainstream media over their coverage of truckers and trucking issues, but every once in a while there’s an outlet that gets it. And this one does.
We’ve given out plenty of ROSES to folks going above and beyond to thank truck drivers for all they have done and continue to do throughout this national crisis, but how about some ROSES for some truck drivers who turned the tables and thanked another group on the front lines – medical workers. WXIA-TV reports that a group of drivers at Kevin Westmoreland Trucking in Cartersville, Ga., led by driver Tony Maynard, suited up in masks and gloves and set up a food drive to help feed the workers at the Cartersville Medical Center one Saturday in April. The medical staff was grateful, especially since their cafeteria is closed on Saturdays.
And for anyone who couldn’t come out to them, the drivers loaded up carts and brought the food into the hospital.
ROSES to the Lucky Steer Restaurant in Wapakoneta, Ohio, for giving truckers 40% off their meals or even in some cases feeding drivers for free. The restaurant mentioned the discount on social media, and it quickly went viral. One driver, Travis Cadle, said in his own Facebook post that when he stopped by he was given his meal for free because the restaurant had so many people donate money to help feed hungry truckers that they decided to give the meals for free for as long as they could. One silver lining to this whole mess has been seeing the lengths businesses and people have gone to in order to appreciate and take care of truck drivers.
ROSES to the FMCSA, the CVSA, state DOTs and state and local law enforcement for their coordinated effort to get a million much-needed masks to truck drivers across the country back in April. After a desperate plea for help from OOIDA, these groups and organizations really stepped up and answered the call. Some even went further than that – like the Illinois DOT and the Illinois Trucking Association. They took the mask distribution as an opportunity to give truckers a free lunch while they were at it. They handed out box lunches at the Williamsville weigh station on Interstate 55 that included a sandwich from Jimmie John’s, water, fruit and a cookie.
There are many more instances we could cite like this if we had more space. In the past two months we’ve seen acts of kindness toward truck drivers the likes of which we’ve never seen before. We don’t know how long this outbreak is going to last, but here’s hoping the kindness we’ve seen will continue to spread faster and further than any virus. LL