We were at home, stocking the truck to go back to work on a Monday. We received a call on Thursday about a load that needed picking up on Friday, delivering on Saturday. The load offer was from one of our favorite agents, and after asking a few questions, we decided we could scramble to finish loading the truck and pick up the load for him. We have worked with this customer before, and while they pay well, it usually takes them a bit to figure out precisely what they are doing. This was soon to prove true once again.
We arrived at the customer on Friday afternoon, along with three other trucks, all with the same destination. It is a small world, and we knew the drivers of two of the other trucks, and it was like an old home week as we visited.
In time we were told they would load two of the trucks that day, and the other two on Saturday morning. The new delivery day was Sunday. This location allows drivers to park overnight, but they have no facilities, which is not a problem for us. We were able to get a quiet night's sleep backed into the dock. Lucky for us, they have level docks, so no trying to sleep at an angle.
First thing Saturday morning, we got loaded and headed for Tennessee. Everything we had read and heard was to expect light traffic. This did not hold true for the area where we were, and not only did I have heavy traffic, I had rain! This weather and traffic problem held true for most of the day. Bob and I switched drivers in the afternoon and continued on our way. The load was short, as it was less than 500 miles.
We received a call from the agent asking for our ETA, and we told him,” evening.” He let us know we could park at the facility that night and to expect to start to unload at eight in the morning. Two of the trucks were there, and we had one truck behind us. As we arrived at the customer's location, we saw our friends, and they had the lawn chairs out. Jay, one of the other drivers, had this amazing portable campfire in a container. He set out a protective base, and then set the portable campfire on top and lit it. We all had a great evening sitting around the small fire catching up with each other before heading back to our respective trucks to sleep.
Bright and early Sunday morning workers arrived to start handing out the computers and monitors that we had brought. We learned that the building of 1,300 workers had become contaminated, and everyone was told to leave immediately. Within a couple of days after the announcement, the company had organized computers with dual monitors for each of them, and a plan was in place to get them up and running in their homes. The employees started arriving at eight, and we were told to expect a new wave of them every half hour.
Our job was to keep the skids where they could easily get the monitors and computers off of the stack to place into the trunks or back seat of the cars. They had a tent set up to protect the workers and the equipment if it rained, which it did. We got the first truck unloaded, and he took off as he had some other work he needed to do.
Using our lift gates, we unloaded skids as needed and then used our pallet jacks to place the skids inside the tent. In no time we all had a system that worked for everyone, and while it was slow going, it was smooth. I asked one of the ladies how she thought everything would work out. She told me that the biggest problem would be getting all of the computers working and then figuring out the details. Much of what they needed was still in the building, and some things would have to be put off. The building was going to be cleaned, and that would take five days before they could go back inside to get anything. From that point, she did not know if they would continue to work from home or go back to the office.
The day was very long as the afternoon had few people scheduled to come in to get their computers. We learned that we would be taking the left-over supplies and the skids back to the origination at the end of the day. The people that were working were mostly volunteers, and they were really amazing.
At noon someone went for sandwiches for everyone, including the drivers of the three trucks still on location. In the afternoon, another lady brought in cookies and small cupcakes for snacks. While the day was long, it was nice to work with so many people with the same goal.
At the end of the day, we loaded up a couple of skids of left-over equipment and the empty skids to take back.
With a heartfelt goodbye and good luck wishes for them, we were off. Once we arrived back at the origination, one of the workers told Bob to have me back into dock 12, and they would unload us. Then they changed their minds and said they did not want anything that had been touched by "those people" in their storerooms. We pulled away from the dock to await an older truck, they did not use much to transfer our load into. After another five or so days, they would be able to unload that truck and put it back into the warehouse.
Using our lift gates and pallet jacks is typical for our operation, taking all day to unload a straight truck is not normal. We had an interesting weekend, and we hoped everything would turn out good for these employees. This experience made us all wonder if working from home might be the wave of the future.
Once we got unloaded, we headed further north to pick up another load the next day going back south.
Who knows what our next adventure will be. Loads can get interesting when we can create our own docks, unload, and move the product where the customer wants it.