LUBBOCK, Texas — Seeing a crowded truck-stop parking lot was all it took for Lubbock Police Department Cpl. Chris Paine to gain a new appreciation for the unsung heroes of the supply chain.
Paine said he responded to a call at a local truck stop late one night. While there, he took notice of the volume of trucks parked there for the night.
“I was so taken aback by the sheer number of semi trucks that were overflowing in the parking lots,” Paine said. “We’ve heard so much about doctors, nurses, first responders all thanked for being on the front lines. I dare to say that the men and women driving these trucks are rarely if ever thanked for the job they perform.”
After making this observation, Paine did two things. First, he went to each individual truck and if the driver was awake, he “gave them thanks, and prayed a blessing over them in the name of Jesus.”
“They are working tirelessly to provide food and supplies to a very inwardly focused nation during this difficult time,” Paine said.
He then took to social media, reaching out to the community for an opportunity to offer a few meals to these truckers as a way of saying thanks from “a grateful west Texas.” At the time of the social-media post, he said, he hadn’t worked out the logistics.
His call was met by interest from Heather Howell, a Lubbock resident with three daughters. She said his post “put it on [her] heart to make sure each one of [the drivers] could go to bed with a decent meal.”
Howell and her daughters — 13-year-old twins and a 9-year-old — purchased 50 meals from Jason’s Deli. The girls also wrote thank-you notes to the drivers to be included with their meals.
“God spoke and we simply listened and abided,” Howell said. “[Drivers] are sacrificing sleep and time with their families, and I just wanted to let them know that everything they are doing is not going unnoticed.”
Howell asked Paine if he and some other officers would be interested in delivering the meals to the drivers. Paine jumped at the opportunity, and he and a few fellow officers did just that. The group delivered the meals the following night.
Howell said this small gesture was also a great opportunity for her daughters to see that no matter the size of the effort, it can make a difference to someone.
“I know [truck drivers] are extremely essential to our communities all over right now, and they deserve to know how much we appreciate everything they are doing,” Howell said. “I hope [my daughters] see that in times of crisis, we all need to do anything we can, big or small, to support one another and spread the love that God has filled our hearts with.”