How a trucking couple ‘Drew’ something positive from their pandemic experience

May 20, 2020

Wendy Parker

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OOIDA members Ron and Chante Drew discuss COVID-19 on “PBS News Hour.”
OOIDA members Ron and Chante Drew share their COVID-19 experience with “PBS News Hour.”

Sometimes the follow-up is better than the COVID-19 story itself, y’all.

You may remember Christopher (Ron) and Chante Drew, one of the trucking team/couples who found little help out on the road in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ron became ill while on the road at the beginning of April, before a lot of the testing sites available now became functional – and accessible to commercial vehicles. He and Chante gutted it out, even though they found many of the lanes previously used to haul fresh food items across the country had little to no activity due to the closing of restaurants and many public facilities.

When the Drews finally made it home to Kansas City, Mo., on April 11, neither of them expected the course their lives would take from there.

A positive COVID-19 swab for Ron confirmed his fears of having to take a large chunk of time off work. Chante’s negative result was considered a “false negative,” and both drivers were told by their local health department to self-isolate for 14 days. The stipulation of no fever for 72 hours would extend that time accordingly.

Almost three weeks to the day of returning home, Ron was finally cleared by their local health department and DOT physical exam to return to work. Interestingly enough, Chante failed her initial DOT physical due to abnormally high blood sugar, a diagnosis she had never experienced before (presumably) having COVID-19.

Never fear. A follow-up physical a week later revealed normal and acceptable levels for Chante to pass her DOT exam. After missing only one trip out to Seattle with Ron, she was back in the truck and rolling again.

In an effort to bring the plight of the very necessary truck drivers who are still rolling through the pandemic to light, the Drews chose to speak out publicly. The couple granted “PBS News Hour” permission to document their experiences on a recent “Brief but Spectacular Moment” segment.

Their story, posted on the “PBS News Hour” Facebook page, has garnered over 700 positive responses and well-wishes from the general public. Let me tell ya’, if you’re having a bad day and are wondering why you still do this job at all, read the comments on this social media page. It’s a brief but spectacular showering of love and affection for some of the most important people in our lives that we never meet.

And since we’re feeling all squishy already, I’d like to report that the Drew team is back at it with their ride-along fur-babies, doing the job they both enjoy. While everything – like their sense of taste and smell – is still not back to normal, both report feeling better every day.

We appreciate you, Ron and Chante.

Let them truckers roll.

Wendy Parker

Wendy Parker has covered the trucking industry since 2012 after she says she “lost my mind and decided to climb inside my husband’s big truck to travel with him as an over-the road, long-haul trucker.” Her unique writing style that ranges from biting satire to investigative journalism coupled with her unbridled passion for fighting round out a wildly talented stable of writers.