This was my first week operating my truck as a pandemic took a firm hold on North America. I said North America because a virus does not recognize borders. I really did not want to go to work this last week because I did not want to leave loved ones and face the uncertainty of how the quarantines were going to impact my ability to return home.
As the week began there was a lot of speculation in regards to a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Many non-essential businesses were closing down along with most companies enacting a travel ban for their employees. There was a lot of speculation and little in the way of facts, as I prepared my Cascadia for the week's dispatch.
My apprehensions about heading out to make my deliveries increased after discovering my local grocery store was running out of food and had a line extending halfway around the outside of the building. Fortunately, I was only getting food provisions for my time on the road. I looked at the retail store on the other side of the parking lot and remembered they had a decent sized offering of grocery provisions without a line. After shopping for my food for the week on the road it was time to pack the items in the refrigerator within my Cascadia's sleeper.
With all of the uncertainty in the air, I began to procrastinate on my departure as I listened to the news which seemed to be escalating the seriousness of the crisis by the minute. With everything packed and ready to go I decided it would be a good idea to call the customers which were to be served in the upcoming week, to eliminate any unforeseen problems.
With everything set on “GO”, it was time to roll. The immediate observation of the highways this week was that it seemed as though the citizens were heading to stay home. This was not really that big of a surprise to me as it has always been that most people are at their best behavior during times of crisis.
There were no rush hour traffic delays and traffic was light for the first four days of the week. Citizens Band radio use was up and there was not much in the way of foolish conversation. The week was full of positive acts by private citizens and public servants. Such as, making parking available to drivers at closed businesses and/or picking up meals for truck drivers after many restaurants closed their dining rooms leaving only the drive-thrus open. This was being done by private citizens, firefighters, and various local police departments.
I also saw posts from truck-lines on Facebook making arrangements to allow others to park at their facilities. There were also posts by local police departments giving phone numbers for truck drivers to contact them if they needed a safe place to park.
My job as a truck driver was incredibly easy to perform this week as there were not any traffic jams, rush-hour congestion or any other delays. In fact, I looked up traffic conditions on Google Maps Thursday morning while at the dock in Charlotte, NC. There was not one backup on any of the major highway arteries in the Charlotte area. I could not believe my eyes when studying the maps and not seeing lots of red lines indicating traffic delays. I then looked at many other major cities on Google Maps to see if this was an anomaly or if this was the case elsewhere around the country. Here is what I found in the pictures of the Google Maps from my phone Thursday morning.
This week was uplifting to my spirit as I saw the best in humanity on display as this crisis unfolds. Let’s all do our jobs/responsibilities to society and we will get through this trying time together. Everyone is important in this matter even if your “JOB” is to stay home to prevent the spread of this virus.