DIXON, Iowa — Truck drivers are seeing an uptick in business as grocery stores and retailers stock up on necessities amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Jeff Hoker, owner of Hoker Trucking in Dixon, Iowa, says he can't remember the last time he took a day off.
"These guys are hard workers," he said. "I'll tell you right now, these guys are busting their butt every day of the week."
Truckers are left helping to restock bare shelves. Hoker says his drivers are delivering food and pet food all over the country, from Seattle to western New York.
"It's just been crazy the last three or four weeks," Hoker says. "Whatever it's been. I've kind of lost track."
He's taken extra precautions to keep his driver safe, especially those heading to the areas hit hardest by the virus, like Chicago.
Hoker has 20 gallons of hand sanitizer stocked up and told his staff to stay in their trucks as much as possible, wear gloves and stay out of the truck stops to avoid being exposed.
"We've got guys going to these places that probably aren't the best places to go if you watch the news, and nobody complains," he says.
However, Hoker worries a slow down may be coming in the near future.
"People kind of finally get what they need," he says. "How much more could they buy? So I'm sure there will be a slow down to this at some point in time."
But all this hard work and sacrifice hasn't gone unnoticed. Across the country, drivers have seen signs of support, from free meals to letters and messages.
"The appreciation we've gotten and the messages we've gotten are unbelievable," Hoker says. "In the 30 plus years I've been doing it, I've never seen anything like it."