There’s no need to state the obvious in this piece. Our world is facing an invisible enemy. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’re well-aware of what’s going on globally, as well as in the great USA.
The Battle Up Front
Fighting the battle on the frontline are our amazing healthcare professionals. I could not imagine what it’s like for not only each and every nurse, doctor, pharmacist, and EMS, but also for their family and loved ones at home. They all deserve more than just a round-of-applause and a bump in pay when this is all said and done!
Also helping fight the good fight are all of the grocery store and department and retail store workers who are remaining open for essential items. Lord knows we owe a debt of gratitude for the workers who are stocking the shelves with food and toilet paper!
One profession that goes unnoticed in all of this are all the people in the logistics world who are working behind the scenes. All the workers who are willingly putting themselves and their family in harms way to unload and load trailers, deliver vital medical supplies to drug stores and hospitals, and working in backrooms of companies like Walmart and Target to try to fill shelves by placing orders and taking inventory.
Eastbound And Down
While you might have thought about all the individuals and workers I’ve mentioned so far, the group of professionals who are the most forgotten is the American truck driver.
When you think of a semi-truck driver, many stereotypes probably immediately pop into your head. I’m sure the first thing that comes to mind for most of you is how slow a truck takes an exit ramp or why it takes them a mile to get up to highway speeds. You might even have thoughts of some old, overweight, dirty truck driver you saw carrying two chili-dogs and a big gulp in line at the Flying J while all you needed to do was pay for your gas.
While some of these stereotypes can be true, we’re all really seeing the value of the men and women in this industry.
Clear Eyes, Full Shelves, Can’t Lose
Under normal circumstances, you don’t think twice about store shelves being completely full of food, clothing, or other items you like to purchase while shopping. It’s easy to not even think twice about how those products made it to the shelves. Only when people rush out and panic-buy something like toilet paper, completely clearing out an entire isle, do you stop and think twice about how those shelves will fill back up.
Everyday there are hundreds of thousands of truck drivers hauling all sorts of things across the conteninetal US. That freight consists of everything from food, paper products, clothing, livestock, medical supplies, to pretty much anything you’ve ever purchased. If you go into any home, business, gym, movie theatre, bar or restaurant — literally ANYWHERE — everything you see was once loaded onto a semi, traveled across the state or country, and unloaded into the backroom of a distribution center.
From a distribution center, that product was unloaded and then eventually loaded onto another trailer. That trailer then took the product to a store or straight to a business or home. While at that store, workers unloaded that freight again and stocked their shelves. You go into that store and place your item into your cart to purchase it without even thinking about how it got there.
On The Road Again
During emergency situations like we’ve been experiencing these past couple of weeks, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has lifted hours of service regulations for truck drivers delivering relief and essentials. Again, many of you have no idea what that means unless you or someone you know is a professional truck driver with a Class-A CDL.
Basically, truck drivers have hours of service rules they have to adbide by. To prevent drivers from falling asleep at the wheel, the government dictates how long that driver is allowed to drive in a 14 hour period before he’s required to take a 10 hour break. To you, this may seem like a good idea, and in theory, maybe it is, but that’s a different article for a different time.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, DOT has allowed CDL carriers delivering emergency relief to drive as many hours as they need to get their freight to their final destination before being required to take a 10 hour break. What’s this mean for you? It means that there’s such a high demand for essentials like food, medical supplies, and for God only knows why, toilet paper. Essentially these essential items will move across the country at a faster rate to reach their end-of-the-line more quickly.
Stupid Games, Stupid Prizes
Something that complicates things for truckers is when you have a Governor shut down rest areas and service plazas in a state like Pennsylvania. Though this only lasted a day or two, the Govenor of PA recklessly hung truck drivers out to dry earlier this week. Trucks driving through the Keystone State had nowhere to fuel, rest, eat, sleep, or use the restroom on the turnpike. Lasting a little over a day, he made the wise decision to open things back up for the safety of the thousands of drivers traveling through his state each day.
While I’m not trying to be political in this article, decisions made like the one above just illustrate how forgotten the American truck driver is today. Once the backbone of our country and a well-respected industry and profession, semi-truck drivers have become unjustly mistreated and targeted by many government agencies.
The Heroes Of Covid-19
To wrap things up, I think it is VERY important to thank and appreciate the value of all the hardworking men and women helping fight this COVID-19 pandemic. What the healthcare professionals have done and continue to do for our country during this time will go down in history with the same valor as those who fight and fought for our freedoms in our great military.
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” -Fred Rogers
The grocery and department store workers who have been fighting their own battle to help keep food and other essentials stocked on shelves has not gone unnoticed. Thank you all for your hard work and dedication to help service all Americans.
To the forgotten heroes in the trucking and logistics industry, a big thank you for keeping this nation rolling on amid all the chaos. You may never get the gratitude or respect you deserve, but you keep on trucking and staring down those long, white lines.
Roll on 18-wheeler, roll on!