Sharon Hourn and her husband Darren.
Sharon Hourn and her husband Darren.

Sharon carries tissue ‘up her sleeve’ because there’s no toilet paper

HOW quickly the world has changed outside is scary, says Sharon Hourn.

Sharon has been a longtime advocate for looking after truck drivers health and been involved in the industry for many years.

She usually tries to get out and see drivers and provide simple health checks as many of them find it hard to actually get to a doctor, but recently she’s been out on the road, working with her husband Darren in Victoria.

While the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t slowed their work down, it certainly has impacted on their life on the road in many ways, she said.

As with many other drivers, she said the biggest problem right now was had to do with food.

“We just want somewhere you can go in and get a decent feed. You go in (to truck stops) and the only things they have are takeaway, thing like chikko rolls, fast food and you get told you can’t even eat at tables and chairs.

“(And the problem with that is) you’re not getting out of your truck and you’re not getting a proper rest.”

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She said she was an avid listener of Ray Hadley and Alan Jones and had heard them speaking to chefs who were now out of a job due to strict COVID19 shutdowns.

“Why can’t some of those chefs be hired and cook us a good feed?” she asked.

“I’m not knocking every roadhouse, but why can’t we have some decent food?”

Sharon said she and her husband had friends nationwide and to hear that some couldn’t get access to showers and toilets was heartbreaking.

“It just makes it really hard. It’s hard to get off the road at the best of times and then you find it’s closed or there’s no toilet paper,” she said.

She said she’d started having a tissue up her sleeve wherever she went just in case she was caught short.

Sharon, who says she’s always got a kind of open-door policy when anyone can ring her if they’ve got any problems, said she’d been contacted by a number of drivers who just wanted to talk.

“I think the biggest thing is that it (the lockdowns) have happened so quickly, last week it was normal and this week it’s changed. Nobody’s job is secure and there are so many unanswered questions,” she said.

“Let’s hope that that there will be changes going forward – now they all know we need decent rest areas and places that we need to be able to eat in the warmth and not feel like second class citizens.”

Sharon said she was hoping to get back out to the roadhouses and continue helping drivers.

“I’ve been thinking about how I can do it,” she said.

“I want to get back out there because now more than ever the drivers need someone to talk to. As long as I’m careful, I’ll always be available.”

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