Desperate times calls for desperate measures, so when Shannon Newton went looking for empty bottles, she wasn’t finicky about what she found.
That’s how the president of the Arkansas Trucking Association wound up with approximately 200 empty honey bottles in her conference room in Little Rock. You know the little bottles shaped like bears with a little nozzle on their heads? Yeah, she has a bunch of them.
Now this might lead you to ask Whispers: what on earth for? Answer: for filling with hand sanitizer to give to truck drivers in the age of COVID-19.
Newton had little trouble finding hand sanitizer to distribute to drivers for her ATA members. The only hiccup is that Newton got bulk sanitizer — and drivers can’t really carry a 55-gallon drum of the stuff in the cab.
“We had a really difficult time finding it in bottles that could be distributed to drivers,” Newton said. “We asked everyone and said yes to anything in case it came through. It is little bears with yellow pop-stop nozzles on them. I have 200 empty ones in my office.”
Despite the amusing anecdote — Newton thinks it is hilarious that she worked so hard and was so happy to get bear-shaped bottles — it was important work. Newton said the ATA was able to help smaller carriers who don’t have the resources or contacts to procure masks and sanitizing equipment for their drivers, who are still hauling goods.
“If you had told me 30 days ago that it would be on my to-do list to procure face masks and hand sanitizer, I would have said, ‘What in the world are you talking about?
Why would I need to be doing that?’” Newton said. “We have found ourselves in that role. We have never done it before and probably will never have a reason to do it again.”