London

Dubai banker turned London truck driver 'proud to serve the community'

Naqi Hasnain, who drives a truck for Messenger Freight Systems, begins his shift at a warehouse in Cambridge, where he picks up loads for Loblaws and delivers them to grocery stores across southwestern Ontario and the GTA.

Naqi Hasnain moved to Canada with his family two years ago

Naqi Hasnain drives a truck on the overnight shift, often for up to 14 hours. (Submitted by Naqi Hasnain)

Naqi Hasnain wasn't always a truck driver. Before he moved to Canada with his family two years ago, he was a banker in Dubai making good money.

"I used to be a banker. I was into wealth management. It was a totally different sector and I was working as an assistant vice president. So when I moved here, the banking is totally different," Hasnain said.

Naqi Hasnain credits his Uncle Syed Nawabul Hasan of St. Thomas for inspiring him to become a truck driver. (Submitted by Naqi Hasnain)

Hasnain was unable to get a job in his field when he moved to Canada, so his uncle, who lives in St. Thomas, suggested he try trucking, as a way to serve his new community.

"I had to drive this 53-foot long trailer, so that was initially difficult for me, but eventually my uncle motivated me and he said, it's just a matter of time," said Hasnain.

Driving during COVID-19

Things have changed since the pandemic. For one thing, traffic is lighter, said Hasnain.

And of course, there are new protocols around loading and unloading. Now, for the most part, Hasnain must stay in his truck.

Plus, finding a bathroom has been challenging.

Naqi Hasnain says it's been challenging finding washrooms while on the road. (Submitted by Naqi Hasnain)

"Sometimes it's very hard to find a washroom. We stop by these truck stops and sometimes we have to wait long to use a washroom," Hasnain explained.

Hasnain also worries about protecting his family. "My kids are very small. The youngest one is one and a half years old, so obviously I have to think of them as well. Even now, when I enter in my home, it takes me 15 minutes to enter," he said. 

Hasnain strips down in the garage and does his best to wash up before he enters the house.

Naqi Hasnain with his wife, Hadiqa and and their children, 18-month-old Alizeh, four-year-old Haider and eight-year-old Raza. (Submitted by Naqi Hasnain)

Hasnain said there seems to be a new appreciation for truck drivers right now, and he's proud to be an essential worker during this pandemic.

"I found out this is one way I can serve the community, so now I'm planning to drive a truck for a longer period of time, maybe for the rest of my life." 

Naqi Hasnain is a truck driver, who delivers loads for Loblaws across southwestern Ontario and in the GTA. Naqi opens up with London Morning about life on the road during the COVID-19 pandemic. 7:13

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