Fired or new truck?
It seems like nothing exciting happens to us. Well, something happened yesterday and today, that if not exciting, is at least worthy of a feeling of anticipation. It’s kind of complicated, so stay with me. Here’s what happened …
Yesterday morning when I was driving along enjoying the fall foliage, I received a message from the claims department of They Who Must Not Be Named, telling me to call them. I did so, and the fellow I spoke to asked me a vague question about whether or not, the day before, we had been driving on some state road in Ohio. I told him Hedon had been driving that evening and that I didn’t know if we were on that particular road or not. Hedon was asleep at the time of this call, so I told him that I would have her call them back when she woke up.
However, I wouldn’t let him off the phone until he fessed up as to why he wanted to know about the road in question. He told me they had received a report that a driver from the company had knocked down several telephone poles next to the road, and that they had to investigate everyone who had been in the area to try to find out who did it. I laughed and said that while I wasn’t driving, I would have known it if we had hit something, and we did not hit anything. He said okay, but that he still had to talk to Hedon.
Hours later, Hedon called them back and told them she was not driving on this particular road, and that she did not knock over any telephone poles, and that they should feel free to inspect the truck and trailer for any damage if they were suspicious of anything. The claims woman said that it was just standard procedure to interview everyone in the vicinity of an unreported accident and that they didn’t actually think we had done it. End of story. Well, not exactly.
Today, when we woke up, we noticed something odd. The load we are currently on picks up this afternoon in New York and delivers in Ohio tomorrow afternoon (a lot of time for such a short run, but that’s not what’s odd). When they assign a load to you, they also enter a PTA (projected time of availability). The PTA is always set for a few hours after the delivery of the load (which helps them plan your next load). What was strange was that our PTA had been set for Oct. 30 at 12:12. Why had they pushed out our PTA so far? What did it mean? Hmmm.
They Who Must Not Be Named has a well-known history of calling drivers into their terminals and firing them on the spot, giving them just a few hours to clean out their trucks and get off the property. Now, where we are delivering tomorrow is pretty near a company terminal. Have they pushed out our PTA so they can send us to their terminal and fire us for an unreported accident we didn’t commit? Hmmm.
So, not one to let this sort of thing just hang there, Hedon called our dispatcher and asked him why our PTA had been pushed out. He said he did it because after we deliver we are to go to our terminal and … (here’s where you should feel a sense of anticipation) … get a new truck. The PTA was pushed out to give us plenty of time to move our stuff from our current truck to the new one. Hmmm.
Hedon told him about the call from claims yesterday and when she said that she had thought we were being sent to the terminal to be fired, he laughed and said no. Hmmm.
What to believe. What to believe. It’s true that we’re overdue to get a truck with lower mileage. It’s also true that when we were in the shop in Houston, our dispatcher told us that he had been trying to find us a newer truck. So, he may well be telling us the truth about why we are being sent to the company’s terminal tomorrow.
Or, he could be lying. A lot of trucking companies are extremely paranoid about what drivers will do when they are fired, and They Who Must Not Be Named is no exception. Wouldn’t surprise me a bit if our dispatcher is lying to us as just a matter of common company policy.
So, the bottom line is this: we have to wait until tomorrow evening before we will know if we are being fired or if we are getting a newer truck. We’re actually not sure which one we hope it is. It’s a real pain in the ass to change trucks, you know. And think of all the fun to be had in protesting being unjustifiably fired; Hedon’s already talking lawyers. The anticipation is pretty exciting. Can’t wait until tomorrow.