NSW truckie Michael Wheeler, owner-driver for Hot Wheels Haulage, wants to make it clear that he’s not an anti-vaxxer: he’s fully vaccinated and willing to comply with all health orders.
But he’s adamant that providing documented proof of vaccinations should go both ways when dealing with customers, and he’s willing to make stand in protest.
Earlier today, on day one of ‘Freedom Day’ in NSW, he did just that when attempting to deliver a car to auction house Pickles in Milperra.
“I stood my ground and said I’m delivering to you, you’re the customer, show me your vaccination and they all refused,” said Wheeler.
“So, how does this go in a stalemate. I’ve got every right to ask them for their vaccinations [proof].”
“It’s a fair point I believe. They’re engaging with me for business so I’m at the first point. What gives someone else the right to ask someone for their personal information without providing theirs?
A standoff reached, Wheeler said the Pickles security guard also refused to allow Wheeler to do a U-turn in their premises to get back out on to the road.
“They forced me to reverse a B-double around a right-hand bend and out on to the street.”
Wheeler than unloaded the car in the driveway and left, later documenting the protest on his TikTok page @hotwheelsMick.
“I was quite open with them saying I don’t want to make a scene but you’re going to create one, because it’s only fair.”
“Let’s not segregate people here.”
Wheeler said no one got any warning that this would happen, and other drivers turned around and left when they discovered the conditions of entry.
Chris Avramis, Pickles chief operating officer, told us that the NSW Government Health Orders, which came into effect today, are quite clear in that an occupier of premises must take reasonable steps to ensure that an unvaccinated adult is not on the premises.
“Pickles requested this transport operator to produce his vaccination status as per the Health Orders,” said Avramis in a statement.
“The transport operator refused and asked to see Pickles’ vaccination status. The Pickles branch manager offered to show his vaccination status, however the transport operator said, ‘Pickles have no right to be asking for my private information’.
“The transport operator then left the premises.
“Pickles have always followed the Health Orders and will continue to follow the Health Orders.”
UPDATE: This story was updated with a response from Pickles at 2.45pm.