Bob and Linda started their driver careers after their children left home for college in 2000. Bob started as a driver for US Xpress with Linda as a rider. They decided to enter the Expedite industry in 2005 and purchased their first Freightliner. Both, Bob and Linda have had their Class A licenses since the early 80's starting out driving in the oil field and hauling grain as fill in drivers.
We just had a pickup in downtown Chicago that required the use of our lift gate. Normally when we are asked to use our lift gate it is because the customer does not have a dock. We are often required to go inside and get the freight with our pallet jack, piano dollies, or even to hand carry out the freight and place the product inside our truck and secure it to travel safely and securely to the destination. This was a first to use the lift gate to reach the dock that was just about rotted away.
We first had to try several different routes as the directions the customer gave included going under 12'6" or less bridges. This is frustrating in busy traffic and narrow roads. It is frustrating for us as well as the cars trying to get around us. Finally we found a path where we could get under the overpass using the far right lane (we had to use this lane as well to get back out) and let our customer know we had arrived.
The load consisted of three pallets going to Las Vegas for a trade show with a total weight of 660 lbs. We quickly realized that they could not get the freight to the ground and we needed to squeeze between a large dumpster and an electrical pole with cars parked right where we needed to pull forward so we could line up with the dock. The lift gate had to be opened and extended as once we got close to the dock there would be no way to deploy it. Backing up and maneuvering with an extended lift gate can be tricky but is made easier with two people, one guiding and one backing.
It took a couple tries to get squeezed into the area and have enough of the lift gate on the dock to load the pallets. The customer had a pallet jack and he maneuvered the pallets to the lift gate and Bob used our pallet jack to get under the pallets and pull them into the truck. The joint effort worked and before long we had everything loaded and secured.
Our next stop was the Bellagio in Las Vegas and that is another set of problems.