Saturday, December 18, 2010

"My Way Or The Highway"


Back in the early days of my driving career I was a Transport driver.I was married at the time with a young family.My former wife and I had just purchased our second home-with a considerable mortgage payment to meet each month.So in order to make ends meet-along with my full time job as a truck driver-I started driving highway coach part time on weekends.(Similar to the one pictured above.)
Some may think the incident I am about to share is more nasty than humorous-but none the less its a true story-and I can laugh about it today.
I was dispatched out of the coach yard to pick up a group of tourists at a hotel in the suburbs of Toronto.They were visiting from Montreal and were enroute to see a Blue Jays game at the Sky-dome in downtown Toronto.I had 47 people on board as we left the hotel.About halfway down the highway the coach started having mechanical problems.First the turn signals stopped working-then as we got closer to the downtown core-the power steering went on it.
So here I am on the highway trying to change lanes in this big coach with no signals-then trying to weave through downtown side streets with what was now "arm strong" steering.This was not only dangerous-but also a royal pain in the ass.
I managed to get the coach into the stadium and after all the passengers were off-I went in search of a pay phone.
I reached the company mechanic- who was at home on call at the time.After explaining my situation he calmly told me to bring the coach back and get another one.What?? I exclaimed-the companies yard is a good hour an a half drive from Toronto!
I told him to go get me another coach and bring it down to the city-and he as the "mechanic"-could limp this one back.Thats the way its done in the trucking business I informed him."This is not the trucking business"was his reply.I was now livid-and doing my best to hold my tongue.
"I'll think about it I told him"- and hung up the phone before I lost it on him.


I walked around the stadium a bit trying to decide what I was going to do.Actually I had already decided what I was going to do-"tell him where he could shove his bus"!I was really just walking around trying to figure out how to tell my wife-that I had quit another job.Due to what seemed an incurable streak of impatience- mixed with a short fuse-I had literally quit dozens of jobs during those years.This was not going to go over well at home-that was a given.
So I climbed back into the coach and headed for the yard-doing my best to get there before anything else went wrong with it.It was well after dark when I arrived.I just backed it into the waste disposal area-drained the toilet- and parked it in an empty slot.The office was in darkness-the staff had long gone-and other drivers were out on trips.So with no one to bitch to I just got in my car and headed home.Leaving 47-soon to be- pissed off French men at the sky dome in Toronto -wondering no doubt what the hell happened to their transportation back to their hotel.The phone was ringing off the hook for hours after I had gotten home.I told my wife not to bother answering it-as I had no intention of going back.I never did find out how they got back.I can only assume the mechanic was summoned to get off his comfy couch at home-get in another coach -and go and pick them up.Makes me think he should have done it my way in the first place.Needless to say that part time job was history. Probably didn't do much for the Francophones opinion of anglophones either. ;)