When The Flu Knocks You Down

Jim Luff
Posted on January 8, 2014

An epidemic flu is sweeping the nation, and of course, I caught it.
We are in a business where germs are readily spread rapidly. One sick passenger in a vehicle can tumble an entire company in short order. Let's say, Passenger X has the flu and sits in the backseat contaminating the area. When Driver "A" goes to clean up the area and grabs a used tissue, he can become infected. Now, he touches the steering wheel and infects Driver "B" who is the next driver to operate the car. Meanwhile, both Passenger X and Driver A handle paperwork that is sent to the office and infects the processing clerk. She in turn uses someone else's phone for a brief moment and that person becomes infected.

I was unfortunate enough to catch a nasty case of the flu for Christmas. That flu stayed with me through the first weekend of the new year. This was no ordinary flu. Our local media reported 12 people placed in ICU at local hospitals because of the flu. When I walked in to urgent care, I took my place in a line that left me sitting in a waiting room for five hours with people on the floor, in chairs and standing outside waiting to be seen. They had portable vomit containers and were actively using them. I felt like I was in the middle of a horror show and I was the star. I have since learned that the same strain has shown up in nearly every single state and health department officials everywhere are urging people to take precautions.

After two rounds of antibiotic injections in my rear-end and three oral prescriptions, I kicked it. However, it made me think about many things while I was down. I thought about my drivers who might encounter such an illness and how the stress of not getting paid while off work only adds grief. That must change this year for full time drivers. I owe them that! I also have directed our vehicles to be thoroughly sanitized with Lysol after each day to disinfect the vehicles and limit the spread of infection. Lastly, your staff must be able to carry on the show without you for an extended time period. This means having access to signed checks or a company credit card and a clear chain of command for decisionmaking without having to call you to discuss. Fortunately, for me, this was the least of my worries as I have a great crew that didn't call me one single time while I was down. I didn't call them either. I was too busy focusing on staying alive.

And I have new respect for an LCT colleague who always uses hand sanitizer. I at first thought it weird, but he doesn't get colds like he used to. That container of hand sanitizer is always in his pocket, ready for a lube under the table just before eating. Makes more sense now. -- Jim Luff, LCT contributing editor

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