SEVERE WX : Winter Weather Advisory View Alerts

5 truck drivers share what it's like to haul critical supplies during a pandemic

Working from home isn't an option for many retail workers across the country who risk exposure to Covid-19. CNN asked them to share their stories with us. Here's what they told us. Watch the latest videos on Covid-19. 

Posted: Mar 26, 2020 10:21 AM
Updated: Mar 27, 2020 5:00 PM


The US is counting on truck drivers to help ensure shelves remain stocked as Americans load up on things like toilet paper and canned goods amid the coronavirus pandemic.

CNN Business spoke with several truck drivers about their recent experiences. Many said they're working under trying circumstances that include longer hours, crowded truck stops, difficulties finding food, as well as health and safety concerns. Still, they said they're energized by the challenge and thankful for the gratitude they are receiving from their fellow Americans.

Here's what they had to say:

(The following has been edited for clarity)

Ralph Garcia

Based out of: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Drives for: ABF Freight

The 41 years I've driven, I've never seen the truck traffic, it's incredible. Places at night, trying to get parked. The other day I didn't want to stop because it was so packed. People were lined up on the off ramp, sleeping right there. They couldn't even get into the truck stop.

It's getting hard to even get a sandwich in the past week, with states closing down restaurants. I thought that was insanity. They're doing takeout, at least they have that.

There's a restaurant that I always call ahead to so they'll have it ready. This time, they asked me if I could sit out in my truck. They brought it right to my truck. That was a first.

The other day I went to Burger King in Kingman, Arizona. My truck doesn't fit through the drive-through so I stood in the drive-through. I made my order walking between the cars and they looked at me like I was some kind of crazy guy.

The lady said, 'This is a drive-up.' And I said, 'Yeah, but I can't drive my semi.' She just kind of chuckled, and said 'We don't usually do this.' I said 'You're going to have to start, because we got to eat.' They didn't give me a hard time.

Courtney Emery

Based out of: Crossville Tennessee

Drives for: A FedEx contractor

I'm a little bit nervous [that I've been exposed].

It's definitely scary. When I go home off the road, I live with my grandparents. I'm afraid to go home and transport it to them.

Truckers aren't health care workers and we're not anybody special. We just have to keep working because, what else are we going to do right now? And people need their toilet paper.

Dee Sova

Based out of: Greenville Missouri

Drives for: Prime, Inc.

We've been a little bit more obsessive about hand cleaning and sanitizer. Because you just don't know. It's business as usual, with the acknowledgment we have to be super, super careful about hygiene.

It's already using hand sanitizer before we walk into the truck stop. Or we have gloves on. We're not touching surfaces right now. I'm trying not to touch buttons. When we're at the fuel island [to fill up] we're using a pen versus actually touching that surface.

People are kinder now. My husband, who I drive with, took $70 into a Walmart Thursday to get what he needed. When he went up to the counter to ring everything up, it came to $78. This lady behind him gave him extra [money] to pay for what he needed to get. I realized that was human kindness at work on our behalf as drivers. She didn't have to do that. He could've came out to the truck, got the ATM card and covered everything, but she didn't waste any hesitation in giving him that extra money.

Jorge Chavez

Based out of: Houston, Texas

Drives for: Jetco Delivery

I just dropped a full trailer loaded with milk. As a father, I got kids at home. I would feel bad if my family doesn't have whatever they need. Right now I feel proud, I feel good because somehow we're helping the community to make sure that they get whatever they need in their homes.

Honestly, I don't feel tired. I just feel excited. What's happening now is impacting every family across the nation. I got friends that are driving from state to state. Everyone is doing their part.

Allen Boyd

Based out of: Bedford, Pennsylvania

Drives for: Walmart

You always pay attention to who is following you. With all the stuff that's happening, now we really have to pay attention.

I talked to a driver last week who had somebody come up alongside him and blow on the horn and asked him to roll down his window. They wanted to know if he had toilet paper, as he's driving down the road.

You don't know how desperate people are. People do different things that they would never do when they need something really bad.

Most of the time, we don't have a clue what's in our trucks. Even if we do know, we don't tell. You don't know what that person is going to do, how that person's going to react. In these times, we have to step up our game.

In 39 years, I don't recall ever being thanked for just being a truck driver before. I appreciate being thanked for a change. I hope that it's not just during this time and when it goes away, we're back to just being in everybody's way again.

We make sure everybody has what they need everyday, and do it as safely as possible and in a timely manner.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1524527

Reported Deaths: 20751
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion2077652558
Lake1010411517
Allen946081024
Hamilton73638551
St. Joseph65362761
Elkhart50026632
Vanderburgh48959530
Tippecanoe44411338
Johnson38772527
Hendricks36850462
Porter34709476
Madison29301547
Clark26328328
Vigo25941346
LaPorte23600313
Monroe23478249
Howard22382381
Delaware21877370
Hancock18857220
Bartholomew18433216
Kosciusko18124203
Warrick17207215
Wayne16474303
Floyd16129257
Grant15566299
Morgan14615232
Boone13622138
Noble11983142
Shelby11877152
Dearborn11825113
Henry11771201
Marshall11444171
Dubois11418152
Jackson10772104
Cass10380143
Lawrence10308221
DeKalb10292132
Huntington10277140
Gibson9749126
Montgomery9377144
Knox9162125
Harrison9157117
Whitley886771
Steuben8739105
Jasper8325116
Putnam8306100
Clinton827596
Miami8249135
Jefferson8030127
Wabash7914139
Ripley7278116
Adams6713103
Daviess6661130
Scott663586
White624484
Greene6159112
Clay615275
Decatur6062120
Wells6001120
Jennings600081
Fayette5886122
Posey561648
LaGrange535797
Randolph5171129
Washington511470
Owen5068100
Fountain482580
Spencer457456
Sullivan449866
Starke443986
Fulton440393
Orange435083
Jay419964
Rush418839
Perry397555
Carroll384549
Franklin382850
Vermillion363562
Pike327845
Parke327338
Tipton320675
Blackford275955
Pulaski275375
Newton235461
Brown233556
Benton221521
Crawford220132
Switzerland201414
Martin191822
Warren179522
Union172619
Ohio125216
Unassigned0759

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2496243

Reported Deaths: 31987
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin2696772100
Cuyahoga2600613087
Hamilton1742641756
Montgomery1162791651
Summit1084961418
Lucas929121193
Butler82981963
Stark766321431
Lorain63976809
Warren52895489
Mahoning50955930
Lake47462611
Clermont46371452
Delaware40674220
Trumbull39527790
Licking38492416
Medina38487427
Fairfield35469349
Greene33906435
Portage32283366
Clark31960453
Richland29400444
Wood29143301
Allen25702403
Miami23931408
Muskingum23316255
Columbiana22903409
Wayne21965365
Tuscarawas19512428
Erie18531224
Ashtabula18489362
Marion18456235
Scioto17888214
Ross17287260
Pickaway16251181
Hancock16004232
Geauga15456229
Lawrence14746186
Belmont14033248
Union1403384
Huron13838184
Jefferson13519261
Sandusky13180200
Athens12624107
Knox12037201
Seneca11934204
Darke11316202
Ashland11157184
Washington11009172
Auglaize10785147
Crawford10333178
Shelby10308160
Brown9972145
Fulton9661154
Highland9632151
Guernsey9612122
Defiance9486137
Logan9403147
Clinton9299132
Mercer9015112
Madison8971111
Preble8428170
Williams8263138
Putnam8024136
Champaign7974113
Ottawa7909123
Jackson7763121
Perry7415102
Coshocton7345136
Morrow723984
Fayette703292
Pike658489
Hardin6532133
Gallia634391
Adams6159127
Van Wert6025121
Henry598196
Hocking5835105
Wyandot498894
Carroll4961101
Holmes4857167
Paulding421665
Meigs397774
Monroe313868
Harrison296362
Noble295652
Morgan289448
Vinton254646
Unassigned08
Fort Wayne
Mostly Cloudy
wxIcon
Hi: 24° Lo: 4°
Feels Like: -9°
Angola
Mostly Cloudy
13° wxIcon
Hi: 21° Lo: 6°
Feels Like: 3°
Huntington
Cloudy
wxIcon
Hi: 27° Lo: 6°
Feels Like: 7°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
wxIcon
Hi: 27° Lo: 6°
Feels Like: -9°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
12° wxIcon
Hi: 27° Lo: 7°
Feels Like: 12°
Another system on Monday brings more snow and breezy conditions into the region.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events