Photo: Ron and Chanté Drew
052220 Ron And Chanté Drew

Five good things that happened in trucking this week – May 22

May 22, 2020
As the U.S. continues to endure the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic, the trucking industry shows the nation it is here for the long haul.

As states continue to open, restaurants are changing to outdoor seating areas and public spaces, like zoos, are switching things up to follow social distancing guidelines. And the members of the trucking community continue to remain resilient throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are five good things that happened in trucking this week.

Trucker couple survive COVID-19

Meet Ron and Chanté Drew. They are a married trucking couple who deliver groceries and other essential goods across the country. Back in April, Ron contracted COVID-19.

“One morning you wake up, you feel great,” said Ron. “You go outside, just do a couple things, and next thing you know, you're winded, you're in bed, you're sleeping again for 12 hours straight during the day.

“This thing is no joke,” he added. “Your lung capacity doesn't come back up right away. You still can't taste or smell for God knows how long this is going to be. I still get pain in my knees that I didn't have before. Just don't brush it off, thinking, oh, 99% of us are going to get well. Well, you're not going to get 100% well.”

Normally, Ron and Chanté alternate driving while the other sleeps. But with Ron sick, it took them both off the road and out of work.

“Almost 20 to 22 days, we have been off work,” Ron stated. “We got turned on to a resource called St. Christopher's Fund, which is for truck drivers. And they ended up making our rent payment for the month.”

In an interview with PBS, Chanté urged those out there to “have compassion for each other and quit trying to hurry the process of getting back out there and getting back to work, because it'll happen."

“Truck drivers have never asked for hazard pay,” Chanté added. “In fact, our rates have gone down since the pandemic started. So, we're making less overall than when this first started. And we just want to still be able to do our jobs. I just hope that people don't forget about it as time goes on.”

Convoy Technologies feed essential truck drivers

Convoy Technologies went out to a rest stop on I-69 in Northern Indiana to provide meals to truck drivers via an event called Tacos for Truckers.

“The whole idea of the event was to feed 300 truck drivers and to provide a free meal and free hand sanitizer donated by Three Rivers Distilling Co., out of Fort Wayne, Ind., with free bananas and apples donated by Sam’s Club,” explained Ron Harker of Convoy.

Convoy wanted to support those drivers who have had to put up with so much since they’ve been out on the road during this crisis, Harker explained in a video posted to Convoy’s Twitter account.

“The trucking industry is such a key part of what we do at Convoy Technologies. We felt like it was the right thing to do to show some appreciation to these people who have been on the front lines basically since day one of this crisis,” Harker continued. “They’re not able to stay home; they’re not able to take a day off; they’re not able to work from home. They’ve had to go out and deal with this from the very beginning. So, for us as a company, it’s the least we could do.”

Watch the whole video below.  

FedEx driver helps boy get a skateboard to Tony Hawk via Tik Tok

Tik Tok, a video-sharing social networking service, has exponentially increased in popularity since most of the population has been stuck inside of their homes for almost three months. Popular trends like lip syncing and dance combinations have become a main interest during this quarantined crisis. So, naturally, FedEx driver, Mikail (@fresh2deaf on Tik Tok) used the platform to send a message for one of his customers – a young boy named Cooper – to famous skateboarder Tony Hawk.

Cooper asked Mikail if he could deliver his skateboard to Hawk as a gift. Not wanting to disappoint the boy, Mikailsaid yes. In the hopes to actually reach Tony Hawk, the driver took to Tik Tok in a now viral video. And to Cooper’s surprise, Tony Hawk responded through his own Tik Tok video from the skate park.

“Hey Cooper, I just want to say thank you so much for the skateboard," said Hawk. "It’s on its way to my house right now already. As a thank you gift, I’m going to send you my skateboard – this one right here that I’m riding. Alright, thanks buddy. Hope to meet you sometime.”

Meet Cooper and his new skateboard in the part three video from Mikail's Tik Tok page (@fresh2deaf) after Tony Hawk’s response.

PrePass gives lunches to Illinois truckers

Illinois Trucking continued its “Lunches for Truckers” event this week with help from PrePass. Greg Kindle, regional director at PrePass, volunteered on May 20 in partnership with the Illinois State Police and the Illinois Department of Transportation to provide lunches and masks at the O’Fallon scale on I-64.

Amazon to invest $4 billion to keep employees safe

In a blog post on May 21, Amazon revealed that it expects to invest approximately $4 billion from April to June on COVID-related initiatives to get products to customers and keep employees safe.

According to the post, this includes spending more than $800 million in the first half of the year on COVID-19 safety measures, with investments in personal protective equipment, enhanced cleaning of our facilities, less efficient process paths that better allow for effective social distancing, higher wages for hourly teams, and developing its own COVID-19 testing capabilities.

“We’ve provided more than 100 million face masks to fulfillment centers and operations sites, and an additional 34 million gloves,” said Amazon. “We’ve added 2,298 hand-washing stations, and we’ve provided 48 million ounces of hand sanitizer, and 93 million sanitizing spray and wipes. Along with continuous cleaning in our buildings, we’ve added more than 5,765 janitorial staffers to our teams.”

Watch Amazon’s video further explaining its efforts to combat the COVID-19 virus. 

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