Monday morning started out with a nasty and unpleasant surprise. One of our cars was scheduled to make a 19-hour trip from Bakersfield to Sacramento with a full day of business planned before returning.
In order to pull off a run like this, I had to send a driver to Sacramento in a rental car on Sunday night. My grand plan was to have the relief driver take over at 1:00pm and the original driver return in the rental car with enough legal hours remaining to make it home.
After arriving at the pickup location, the driver heard a radiator hose split and watched from the front door of the client’s residence as steam quickly began swirling underneath the car. The driver immediately contacted our dispatcher. For whatever reason, she began calling my cell phone. I say “whatever reason” since it was not my day to be on call. We rotate managers being on-call because you cannot be tied to this business 24/7 without a break. After 22 years, I have learned, you must unplug.
Of all nights for this to happen, I accidentally knocked my phone off my nightstand with a pillow that fell on top of the phone on the floor. There would be no hearing the vibration under the pillow no matter how many times she called.
When I woke up and found my phone, it was seven o’clock and my phone had nine missed calls. Despite the fact that I wasn’t the one on call, a simple call to the house phone would have done the trick. I would not have handled things any different than the manager-on-duty would have. She finally gave up on me and called the manager-on-duty. Oops, he left his phone in the kitchen when he retired to bed. He never heard it either. Next, she called another manager who jumped out of bed and headed to the shop to drive another limo to the pickup location. By that time, our client said they needed to go. They had an appointment with the governor and must arrive in Sacramento on time.
So, we have a driver who drove to Sacramento to spend the night without reason, a manager who rolled out of bed and drove twenty miles to the pickup location, a pissed off client, a broken down limo in front of a client’s house and a complete and total refund of their money to rub salt in the wound.
I suppose the moral of this story is to make you think about what would happen if your limousine broke down at 4:30am. Who are your chauffeurs to call? Is there a plan? My dispatcher would have loved to jump in the limo and go but she is not old enough to be insured so she knew that was not an option.
— Jim Luff, LCT contributing editor
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