May 21, 2020 12:56 pm – Brenda Echols drives a refrigerated trailer truck. She’s been delivering food that ends up on grocery store shelves throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Echols said before she started driving a truck, she didn’t see much diversity among drivers.

“I watched the big trucks go by,” she said, “and never saw any women, and often wondered if I could do that. One day I decided, why not?”

She was on the road when the first shelter-in-place orders were issued in March.

“It was like the apocalypse out here in these big trucks,” she said. “There were no people.”

Echols says the people she meets on the road have widely differing views of the virus.

“You go one place where people think of it as a serious virus; you go another place where they’re like, ‘Oh, it’s like the flu,’” Echols said. “You get to another place and people think of it as just the common cold.”

That’s tough for Echols, because precautions against the virus vary significantly, depending on where she stops.

“I don’t want to get sick 1,200 miles from home,” she said.

Web story by Shelly Brisbin.

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