Random acts of kindness toward truckers abundant during Covid-19 response

During a global crisis like the Covid-19 pandemic, the good in humanity shines brighter than the cruel, and in the trucking industry, that could not be more evident than it is now.

Across Western Canada and beyond, businesses and individuals have been going above and beyond with “acts of kindness” toward an industry that has stepped up to the plate and literally “delivered” during this time of uncertainty.

In fact, there are almost too many examples to include in one story. But we will attempt to do this feel-good story justice and show how love and appreciation for the industry has grown, as we and many others #ThankATrucker for all they do.

Manitoba

• Dean Stanton owns the Subway at 640 Sterling Lyon Parkway in Winnipeg, which has large parking lots around the restaurant. “We are set up for remote online ordering through the Subway app, so meals can be prepared and ready to go. Our bathrooms are open to our customers and are cleaned and sanitized many times throughout the day, as I know drivers need a place to wash before eating.”
• Big Freight Systems is housing sanitizer products for the Manitoba Trucking Association to distribute to its members.
• Fat Panda Vape Shop is providing material to bottle sanitizer for truck drivers.
• Dayna Robbie and her parents stood on the side of the Trans-Canada Highway clapping and cheering for truckers passing by “as a way to say thank you for all they’re doing during Covid-19.
• The Morris Stampede Inn in Morris is allowing truck drivers to come in for one hour free for a hot shower and rest.
• Flying J in Headingley is handing out free vegetarian meals on April 4 starting at 10:45 a.m. until the food runs out.
• McDonald’s locations across the country are making access to food easier for drivers by including in its My McD’s app an option to order ahead of time and have delivery curbside for truckers.
• The Carberry Motor Inn in Carberry is offering drivers rooms to shower, and has take-out service from its restaurant.
• From April 7-9 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day, Maxim Truck and Trailer in Brandon will be thanking truck drivers traveling the Trans-Canada Highway with free meals.

Saskatchewan

• KFC in Estevan, Weyburn, and Moosomin all have special deals only for truck drivers.
• Lucky Bastard Distillers out of Saskatoon delivered six large bottles of hand sanitizer to the Saskatchewan Trucking Association office to hand out to truck drivers.
• No. 1 Scoop Ice Cream Hut, a restaurant in Tompkins along the Trans-Canada Highway that serves a variety of food, is opening early just for truck drivers. They are offering truck parking and call-ahead ordering, and driver can pick up their food at the walk-up window.
• Across Canada, Sandman Hotels are offering special discounted rates for truck drivers.
• Western Star Inn and Suites is offering truck drivers a hot shower, free breakfast, wi-fi, and welcoming them to come in and just enjoy a coffee and light snack if they wish, 24 hours a day. Locations in the province taking part include Estevan, Carnduff, Melita, Stoughton, Carlyle, Esterhazy, Redvers, Regina (Hampton Inn and Suites), and North Battleford (Holiday Inn Express).
• Quality Inn and Suites on Diefenbaker Drive is offering drivers a place to stop for a washroom break and a free to-go breakfast, and they can stop by any time during the day. “We wish to thank you for your service and commitment during this difficult time. We care and are committed to help in any way possible during your travels through this great country of ours.”

No. 1 Scoop Ice Cream Hut
No. 1 Scoop Ice Cream Hut.

Alberta

• Calgary’s Dashmesh Cultural Centre is handing out around 100 free vegetarian meals to truck drivers per day with three drop-off and delivery points (Husky Truck Stop on Barlow/32nd Ave. N.E., Road King Truck Stop in S.E. Calgary, and Petro Pass Truck Stop on Country Hill Blvd. N.E.).
• Diamond International Trucks hosted three events from April 1-5 handing out free meals to truck drivers in Edmonton, Saskatoon, and Chilliwack.
• Super 8 Edmonton International Airport in Leduc is providing drivers with two hours of access to a room to shower, do laundry (with soap and fabric softener provided) and access to mixed breakfast items for $25.
• All sites of the Ultramar/Pipeline cardlock network are open with showers and washrooms available. Truckers can enjoy 25% off food, drinks, and snacks at participating locations. Truckers can show their Pipeline card at participating locations to receive the discount. This offer is available until May 31.

British Columbia

• Lisa’s Lakehouse in Christina Lake closed and reopened as a truck stop with its drive-thru window open for the first time to feed truckers, first responders, and any essential worker. Their washroom is also available and there is enough space for about five semi-trucks to park overnight on the property. (See the rest of the story below).
• The Dairy Queen at 3190 Island Highway North Hwy in Nanaimo is giving all truckers a 50% discount on all regular priced items.
• The Town of Sidney is blocking off a large portion of its downtown parking for out-of-town truck drivers only.
• A group from Kamloops organized food trucks to visit various cardlock locations in B.C. so drivers have better access to food. Portable washrooms were also set up.

Across Canada

• A group Food Trucks Feeding Truckers During Covid-19 launched to get more food trucks active in increasing access to food for drivers.
• In Quebec, Groupe Robin, is offering a free half-hour stay for truck drivers at one of three Holiday Inn and Suites locations in Saint-Hyacinthe, Trois-Rivieres, and Vaudreuil-Dorion for a shower and restroom break.
• Irving Oil is offering free grab-and-go breakfast from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and complementary hot showers with any fuel purchase at various locations in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Quebec, Ontario and the state of Maine.
• Best Western Plus Hotel and Suites in Dartmouth, N.S., offering a half-hour free access to a room so drivers can have a shower.
• Stayner Home Hardware on Hwy 26 in Stayner, Ont., has closed, but is keeping its doors open to truck drivers who are looking for a washroom, a place to rest, a snack, or coffee. “We want you to know that if you need a place to stop, a washroom, or a candy bar, we are here for you. We will put our store on hold so that you have a few safe moments outside of your truck.” Gravenhurst Home Hardware is doing the same.
• Tim Hortons is opening 400 of its locations near major Canadian highways to truck drivers only for washroom use and front counter service.
• Eddy’s Restaurant in South Brook, N.L., gave out free meals to truck drivers today (April 3).
• Aulac Big Stop Restaurant in New Brunswick is handing out free breakfast to drivers until 11 a.m.
• Generations Diner in Windsor, Ont., transformed into a mobile diner and provided free meals to truck drivers April 1-2 doing its part “feeding our forgotten heroes.”
• At many of its locations in Canada, A&W is allowing truck drivers to walk through their drive-thru service to get food.
• Starting today (April 3), Jean’s (Nita’s Bar and Grill) in Moncton, N.B., will hand out free coffee to truck drivers who pull into their parking lot.
• Walmart in Niagara Falls, Ont., gave its truck drivers a to-go appreciation bag filled with snacks and other surprises thanking them for the work they do.
• The Iron Rooster Rotisserie and Grill in Marmora, Ont., is giving truck drivers passing by free homemade burgers and coffee, as well as a large parking area to rest. They are open Tuesday-Sunday from noon to 8 p.m.
• Jeremy’s Truck Stop at Nairn Centre, Ont., just west of Sudbury, is offering drivers and first responders one free meal per day, with a different selection Monday-Friday.
• ONroute will offer free coffee to truck drivers April 8.

As you can see, so many are stepping up and doing what they can to help drivers across the country.

Lisa Smith of Lisa’s Lakehouse in Christina Lake, B.C., is a perfect example of how one person can help those in the trucking industry and beyond.

Answering a phone call from Today’s Trucking, Smith was right in the middle of cooking a ham and cheese grilled sandwich for a truck driver, but took the time to quickly chat about why she continues to serve those in the industry.

“I took a stand and sent a message. We were getting nailed and I had to lay off all my staff on day two,” Smith said, referring to when she was forced to close her doors to customers two weeks ago. “I made the call and thought that those are the people we need to feed, those are the ones on the road.”

Smith lives in an apartment right above the restaurant, so she is able to safely continue running the drive-thru service at Lisa’s Lakehouse without having to leave the building.

Smith opens from 9 a.m. until it gets dark, six days a week, closed Sunday, and even gives out her personal cellphone number to drivers and workers if they want to call ahead and place an order.

Smith has always been about serving up local comfort foods, and says she will whip up anything drivers want, whether it be breakfast, lunch, or dinner items, with burgers and fish and chips being two of the most popular selections.

Until today (April 3), Smith was running the entire operation on her own, but because word got out quickly of what she was doing, and business picked up, she is getting another person to help with the drive-thru service.

Smith also offers up her parking lot for truck drivers to rest overnight, saying the space can hold around five truck and trailers, and even allows drivers to come in and use the washroom if they need.

“I’ve even been giving out free coffee to the truckers,” said Smith, “though some won’t accept it.”

Lisa's Roadhouse
At Lisa’s Lakehouse in Christina Lake, B.C., truck drivers and other workers can get a hot meal, park, and enjoy some friendly conversation with owner Lisa Smith.

Derek Clouthier

A university graduate with a degree in English, I have worked in the media and trucking industries as a writer, editor, and now as western bureau chief of Today's Trucking and TruckNews.com. I have several years of management experience in journalism, as well as hospitality, but am first and foremost a writer, both professionally and in my personal life, having completed two fiction novels.
derek@newcom.ca
@DerekClouthier

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  • Saw a group of people on an overpass on the 401 waving, holding flags, holding up signs saying thank you truckers. Westbound 401 is 2 painted plywood signs in Eastern Ontario. One is a painting of a tractor/trailer unit and the other just says “thank you”.
    Far as I am concerned, I am just doing my job. Heath care professionals are the real heroes right on the front line keeping all of us safe as possible.