Kudos to everybody stepping up to the plate for truckers during COVID-19 outbreak

March 19, 2020

Wendy Parker

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The day you hear Atlanta rush hour traffic described as “a breeze” is the day you know things have gotten extraordinarily weird out on the road since the COVID-19 threat hit.

It’s not just the road where weirdness abounds anymore. Everyday life has become a series of “What the actual hell is going on?” days all strung together in a big ol’ stew of, “Holy crap, what do we do?” and “Who knows, but we gotta do something!” knee-jerk reactions that haven’t been thought through very well.

And of course, as in every crisis, with COVID-19 truckers have adapted and continue to do their jobs in their highly visible machines with what are seemingly invisible-to-the-public people driving them.

Because that’s what truckers do. They quite literally save our butts by delivering all this toilet paper everyone seems so fixated upon.

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(What the yellow-hell are these weirdos doing with 95 rolls of toilet paper, and where the doodle are they keeping all this stuff? I guess that’s top-secret info and whoever thought we’d value toilet paper more than bread and milk? But I digress and refer back to the above statement of “things are extraordinarily weird” right now.)

Never fear, society is resilient, and people are able to piece together the importance of keeping truck drivers fed, showered, toileted, rested, fueled and well-stocked to safely bring goods they desperately need to live.

Ha ha! Kidding!

Up until the past 24 hours or so it seemed as if everyone making decisions about what would be opened or closed totally forgot there were actual living, breathing human beings in those trucks who needed food and rest, at the very least.

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(I hope none of these folks have a pet turtle or fish.)

Thankfully there have been an abundance of bright spots along this weird and winding road in dealing with COVID-19.

People and places who have really stepped up and seem to be very in-tune with taking care of truckers and truck traffic.

A very sincere shout out is in order for several small-town police departments that have used social media to share their offers of assisting drivers with obtaining hot food by giving them rides to local drive-thru restaurants. Hodgenville,Ky. Police Department, Eufaula, Al. Police Department, Turner, Ore. Police Department and Pottsville, Ark. Police Department have all used their Facebook pages to express their appreciation for the drivers who are out there toughing it out.

Again, through social media more than one restaurant with truck parking available has offers to bring food orders curb-side for pick up. Zaxby’s on Hwy 247 in Byron, Ga. is directly across the street from Pilot Flying J at the 146 get-off on I-75. They have signs posted offering curb-service, truck parking, and picnic tables outside so you don’t have to eat in your truck and can still social distance.

A fer piece on up I-75 in Wapakoneta, Ohio, Lucky Steer Restaurant is not only offering truck parking and curb service for pick-up orders, they’re giving truckers 40% off their check total to show their appreciation.

If you’re not in proximity to any of these locations, don’t be surprised if a stranger offers a ride in places trucks don’t have available parking and can’t fit in the drive-through. Posts sharing the request to consider this or picking up the driver’s orders have been making their way around social media outlets in various forms.

Last but definitely not least, if you happen to be rolling Oklahoma I-35 on Friday, March 20th, you can find a meal and a thank-you on the north and southbound ramps of exit 136 from 11am to 1pm, courtesy of TBS Factoring Service. TBS president Jennifer Lickteig calls truckers “American heroes” and wishes to show her own appreciation as well as the company’s to the men and women who keep our commerce rolling. The lunch is grab and go – you don’t even have to leave the cab.

Try using the fast food apps for ordering when you can.

Call the place you’re ordering from, tell them your situation – most will work with you if they can. Walk-up ordering at a drive-through causes the same kind of problems as having four-wheelers in the diesel line at truck stops. There’s a lot of liability issues, and even though it seems ridiculous to consider that at a time like this, here we are. Y’all don’t assume everyone driving on the highway is sane and competent, you shouldn’t in a drive-through where food is involved and you’re on your walking sticks with nowhere to run. (Just pointing that out for comparison.)

If you happen to be rolling in or near Fordyce, Ark., you can visit the local Sonic, where they’ve built a drive-thru tall enough to accommodate tractors. Senior Editor Mark Schremmer has more info about that here.

The most prominent truck stops (Pilot/Flying J, Petro, T/A) continue to keep showers, fuel, parking and hot beverages and cold food available where they can. It’s a new normal for them, too, with the COVID-19 stuff. The employees are doing the best they can to navigate complicated instructions from multiple agencies that sometimes change daily.

The most important thing to remember is to take care of yourselves.

You are the most important piece of equipment you have. We see you, and we thank you for what you do. Land Line Media and OOIDA are committed to assisting in any way we can with the dispensation of good, vetted information to make your life easier in any small (or big) way that we can.

Let them truckers roll, y’all.

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.