It can fairly be said that our lifeline through the lockdown were the truck drivers and companies that delivered all the products we needed to our front doors. They were the logistical infrastructure that made it possible for us to get so many of the essentials that got us - and are getting us - through this. UPS can be said to be first among equals.
UPS Canada President Dominic Porporino said that by the second month of the lockdown he was struck by, “our collective resilience and ability to adapt. Perhaps most inspiring, despite this unsettling ‘new normal’, an attitude of gratitude is quietly emerging.” He was talking about all Canadians and how we relate to each other, but as far as gratitude goes, a great measure of it is owed to his company and its drivers and all employees who stood and worked together to deliver what we all needed.
But, it wasn’t just the professionalism that UPS is known for. Frontline workers in operational facilities and on trucks - in this essential service industry – continued to show up and persevere with courage and effectiveness – as did their colleagues throughout the logistics industry.
As a global leader in logistics with deep roots in Canada, UPS used its unique position - in its sorting facilities, distribution hubs, warehouses and delivery routes all across the country – to help Canadians stay home by delivering what they needed to their doorstep. So many of us looked forward to the brown trucks and uniformed drivers every day, and UPS continued to serve under extraordinary circumstances.
Canadians showed their appreciation. Clients put out baskets with snacks on their porch, left gift cards for drivers to purchase coffee and stuck thank you notes and drawings on their front doors. UPS employees were profoundly moved by these displays of support and kindness.
Because the movement of people has been severely restricted – if not completely halted through domestic and international air travel – the movement of goods was never more vital. Whether it was critical medical supplies that needed to reach front-line healthcare workers, care packages to friends and family in need or that online ‘pick-me-up’ purchase to get through these challenging times, the isolation, in many ways, has brought us closer together and the lifeline, in so many cases, that connected us was logistics companies like UPS.
Small business owners, heavily impacted by the crisis, demonstrated ingenuity and tenacity to keep their heads above water. And UPS was so critical to so many of them with business solutions to meet their changing needs. Mr. Porporino recalled the story of Evelyne Nyairo who runs an all-natural skincare business, “Ellie Bianca.” He describes her as a dynamo who came to Canada from Kenya on her own at the age of 16. She used her training as an environmental scientist and chemist to produce hand sanitizer - building new connections between her suppliers, her customers and her Calgary-based operations along the way. UPS was there every step of the way to help her.
During this period, we all came to understand that our definition of “essential service” has broadened. Of course first in mind are the frontline healthcare workers – and those supporting them behind the scenes – along with those working in emergency services, the scientific community, foodservice, civil servants and those who hold public office. But the drivers and other employees of those in the shipping industry are right there too.
UPS Canada continues to operate at full capacity. While it is not ‘business as usual’, the company is rightfully proud of playing such a critical role in getting us through the lockdown and now supporting the recovery and keeping the economy moving. Perhaps as vital as anything, those brown trucks brought us all hope and the promise of joy.