Like those other events before us, this no doubt will change life as we know it.
How? We won't know that for a while. We must get through today and tomorrow before we see what next week and next month and next year look like.
As I sit in my "home office" and type — Will working remotely be a new norm for many businesses outside of the tire industry? — my colleagues and I bring you the latest news, both from the tire dealers' perspective and the manufacturers' perspective.
You'll read stories in this publication about what tire dealers, wholesalers and manufacturers are doing and experiencing as they grapple with the pandemic.
Yes, they are deemed an "essential" function, keeping shops open. But how do you pay your bills and your employees if you are have far less capital coming into the shop?
We all can appreciate the immense stress that tire dealers — in fact, all small business owners — must be under, as they ponder furloughs, reduced hours, or worse yet, layoffs or store closings.
What we don't consider is what might be going on in the personal lives. Do they have a family member or friend dealing with the disease? Or a trusted employee?
Or have they lost someone because of it?
I reflect on my own situation. My daughter is a critical-care nurse practitioner at a Canton-area hospital. Like any father, I'm proud of her for tending to the sick.
And, like any father, I worry about her well-being as she fights on the front lines. She told her mother and me she wouldn't be able to see us until May at the earliest.
How many other tire industry employees are experiencing the same worries, with relatives or friends in the health care industry?
I recently delivered the keynote address at the Dunn Tire L.L.C.'s Exxpress Tire customer conference in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. It feels like years ago, although I returned in early March.
I got back on a Tuesday night, and on Wednesday, I went to visit my mom, who was on the rehab floor of her local hospital. Two days later, I took a call from the hospital, informing me she would be released the next day.
So on that Friday, my wife and I went to pick her up and bring her back to her beloved apartment. I arranged for several caretakers to meet her that night. She was happy, content.
I tucked her in bed, kissed her goodnight and headed home.
Less than 24 hours later, she was gone. Congestive heart failure.
While she was elderly and recovering from various ailments, it came as a shock. She was a wonderful lady, inside and out.
We were lucky, though, in many respects. First, we were able to conduct calling hours and a funeral surrounded by her family and friends, days before Ohio issued a stay-at-home order.
And secondly, we were comforted in that she didn't have to quarantine, nor worry about her getting this dreadful disease. That stress alone might have done her in.
How many tire dealers and industry folks are dealing with the deaths of loved ones during this pandemic? Or quarantined from seeing their loved ones?
As Goodyear Chairman, President and CEO Rich Kramer told me:
"... (Tire dealers) know how to do this, they're going to work their way through this, and they're going to be even more successful on the other side."
If history is any indication, they certainly will.