Coronavirus Chronicles: Terry Van Ooyen, Challenger Motor Freight

For Terry Van Ooyen, a professional driver with Challenger Motor Freight, the biggest concern on the road these days is picking up the Covid-19 virus and bringing it home to his family.

But he’s also thankful to still be earning an income, and is doing everything possible to ensure his rig is regularly disinfected.

Terry Van Ooyen, Challenger Motor Freight (Supplied photo)

“Every time, before and after I touch paperwork, I have a bottle of hand sanitizer I use,” he told Today’s Trucking before heading out on a recent run. “When I wake up in the morning, I wipe down my truck with Lysol wipes. And around lunchtime when I take my half-hour break, I do another wipe-down just in case I’ve picked up anything.”

But there are benefits to trucking in the age of Covid-19, some of which give him back the time spent sanitizing his rig.

“There’s less traffic on the roads. Shorter wait times at borders. Fewer people at shippers and receivers,” Van Ooyen said.

He can’t help but feel somewhat ostracized when he comes back into Canada, and sees signs in stores banning people who’ve been to the U.S.

“We have to do it,” he said of his cross-border runs. “It needs to get done for the economy.”

Van Ooyen has a dedicated run, which has stayed steady through the Covid-19 crisis. He has noticed billboards popping up along the highway thanking truckers for the work they’re doing. Van Ooyen has resisted requests from his girlfriend to stay home, saying he’s grateful for the work.

“A lot of my friends are sitting at home twiddling their thumbs saying ‘I can’t pay my bills,’” he said, adding he’ll continue to work as long as he can find the supplies he needs to keep himself safe.

  • Coronavirus Chronicles tell the trucking industry’s personal stories from the front lines of Covid-19. They are drawn from the ongoing coverage at
James Menzies

James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 18 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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