While I agree that in many instances truck drivers over time have not been given a lot of respect for the work that they do, I don’t see them as heroes now, and I am a truck driver.
We’re just doing our job. And as for me, glad I can still do it, so far.
(Individual truck drivers who come to the aid of their fellow man, say a motorist broken down on the highway or someone in an accident or otherwise in need, notwithstanding, a truck driver is no more a hero for doing his or her job than anyone else who braves the Covid-19 atmosphere.)
I think before this Covid-19 thing, a lot of the bad relations between truck drivers and the general public has had to do with problems out on the roadway. Long before I got into trucking, my second career, I used to get irritated at truckers who seemed to want to run me off the road. I recall once driving on a two-lane state highway in heavy rain. I was going a little slower than the speed limit I imagine. This tanker truck comes barreling down the road in back of me, honking his air horn, forcing me onto the side of the highway. Also, back in the 1970s, out on the interstate I noticed something that seemed to be different than when I was a kid. Trucks in my mind used to always be in the slow lane our of the way of the rest of the traffic, even on the flatlands. But now (in those 1970s) they seemed to always be in the left lane going faster than the speed limit and crowding my bumper. I was not a trucker then, and it did not make me like truckers (although I did not spend much time thinking about it, or I did not become anti-trucker).
And the litter spewed all over the highways and byways, certainly not all by truckers, but the piss bottles and the empty plastic gallon jugs of heavy-weight motor oil, and nowadays DEF too (diesel exhaust fluid), do tend to identify a lot of it as from them.
(Oh, yeah, I do see litter flying out of car windows and the back of the nowadays ubiquitous huge pickup trucks — used by so many who haul nothing but themselves).
So some bad apples among truckers make us all look bad. Well that is of course because truckers are just a cross section of society and that is the way it goes.
(Actually, since deregulation in the 1980s I guess they are even a wider cross section than previous times. No longer are we all farm boys who practically grew up on a truck or field tractor or both, born in the saddle or driver’s seat so to speak.)
But yes, we truck drivers are taking a risk out here with this Covid-19, as are all who are working at this time — geez! think of the medical workers, the doctors and nurses and other staff, right down to the cleaning detail. Yeah, they are the heroes.
But a trucker friend of mine ordered a meal from Outback over the phone, and when this trucker went to pick it up the worker there said it was free in honor of what the truckers do — uh, I don’t mean to create a rush to Outback. Not sure that was regular policy or just a random act of kindness. I’d bring your money if I were you.
But if folks want to compliment truckers, that is nice and much appreciated.
I can only hope the bad apples don’t continue to give us a bad name.
And most of all I wish good health to us all, that is all the public.