David Cunningham: A love for the open road

February 5, 2021

VIRL Driver David Cunningham has always had a love for the open road.

His interest in becoming a driver for VIRL was sparked after seeing a VIRL truck parked in front of the Harbourfront branch.

“I thought it looked like a neat job and filed it away. When I was ready for a career change, I kept an eye on VIRL job postings and soon started as a casual in 2011 and became permanent in 2012.”

Flash forward to today and David has clocked nearly 400,000 kilometres delivering VIRL library materials, which is enough for a trip to the moon!

“A typical load for us is 100 to 200 totes both delivered and returned. Multiplied by three drivers, that’s a lot of VIRL items moving around,” says David. “Place a hold, and an item can be processed and travel hundreds of kilometres across the island to another branch often within a day or two.”

With the majority of David’s time spent behind the wheel of a large commercial vehicle, challenges can be as mundane as bad weather, mechanical breakdowns, traffic issues and the “vehicular silliness” of other drivers, but they can also be unexpected too.

“Cruising down the highway one day, my driver’s side window suddenly exploded inward (like someone had shot at me with a rifle), covering me and the inside of the cab in hundreds of pieces of shattered glass,” says David. “I still have no idea what caused it, and luckily only received a few minor cuts.”

Being on the road so much has also given David the opportunity to get to know staff in various branches, which is tough for most given our vast geographical service area.

“I also receive many positive comments while I’m parked at branches from people who seem to truly appreciate us for bringing their items to them.”

One would think that after clocking so many kilometres each day, David would want to hang up his keys and kick up his feet.

“When I’m done driving and it’s time to relax, I hit the road and drive some more! My wife and I can’t get enough of road trips and camping adventures and take off whenever we can, and there’s still so many places left to discover.”

When David does eventually put his vehicle in park, he’s usually immersed in music, having amassed a collection of guitars, basses and amps over the year. He also tinkers with computers, enjoys a bit of gaming and hikes a lot, but his mind never strays too far from that open road.

“As with most things, it’s not all puppies and rainbows at VIRL, especially considering the year we’ve just endured together. Overall though, it’s a good feeling to be part of an organization like ours which does positive things for our communities, and fun working with such a diverse and wacky bunch,” says David.