“God gave us the gift of service, that’s what we do best,” says Beverley Perrin, the Chatham, Ont., senior who has been writing and handing out hundreds of thank you cards to truck drivers.
People are quick and willing to thank essential workers like medical professionals, police officers, firefighters and the like, but hardly anyone pays any heed to truckers, says Perrin, a retired nurse. “I wanted to put the focus on truckers, and what they put up with. A little bit of respect would be nice,” she says.
Last year in April when the Covid pandemic struck and places were locked down, Perrin and her husband Dick, read stories about truck drivers who were denied use of washrooms and were stuck at the Canada-U.S. border for hours.
She went to a nearby store, bought all the 20 thank you cards on sale, wrote a note on each of them, and handed them to truck drivers delivering goods to nearby stores.
Seeing the appreciation from drivers, Perrin continues to buy hundreds of cards and hand-deliver them to drivers at service centers and a truck stop in the Tilbury area, once a month. The truck stop store lets her keep a box of cards for drivers to pick up, and she replenishes them.
The 75-year-old and her husband, who is awaiting abdominal bypass surgery, plan to continue their endeavor for the next year at least, or until things improve.
When they drive to a truck stop, Perrin walks around, meeting drivers and hands out cards. If the curtains in the cab are drawn, she leaves the card on the door handle. Her husband stays by the car and catches any drivers that she misses. She says she has met three women truckers too and understands the difficulties they face on the road.
Perrin says she has met some drivers who have kept her card on their sun visors in their cabs. Some drivers at the truck stop store like to chat, but most are on their way quickly. All of them are very appreciative of the thank you cards, Perrin says.
“A little compassion goes a long way,” says Perrin. People should be more thankful to truckers, who spend long hours on the road, to make sure our shelves and stores are stocked. She says drivers have told her stories of people being rude to them while driving and cutting them off.
Some friends and family members have told the couple to stay away from truck drivers because they travel all over the place and could infect them with the virus. “I see drivers always wiping down stuff, wearing their masks and some even wear gloves when entering the store. They follow more protocol than some people I know,” says Perrin, who just received her first shot of the Covid vaccine.
Perrin writes 20 cards a night and places them in her pink bag. She has another 145 cards to write before she goes out again to deliver them in April. “We don’t want the recognition, we look forward to going out and doing this, it gives us a natural high for the rest of the day. I get more out of it than they do,” says the senior, who used to be a volunteer coordinator for the Snow Angels in Chatham.