start part 3
The aftermath of the incident was in many ways more harrowing and stressful than the actualevent.No one was
hurt,,well one lady had smacked her nose against the dash but that was it.
As it turned
out,,the driver of the lead car,,the one that stopped against the turnaround,,was an off duty officer with a major metropolitan
area in South Florida.The folks in the second car were inlaws of the officer.That's the one that wound up next to the wrecker.And
the lady that got the busted nose was in the officers car,,his wife,I think.
The officer,,who at
first tried to claim I didn't have any emergency lights on,and wound up angrily insisting that I didn't with the reasoning
of,,He's an officer and I am only a tow truck driver.
It turned out that the way he was acting about
it wasn't too wise because the more he raged and ranted,,the more you could smell the alcohol on his breath.
By the time the other driver,,the dudes brother in law,,had admittied that the officer had been playing speed racer by tailgating
really close behind his car then leapfrogging him had been the actual cause of the accident,,the officer wound up swearing
he was going to file some kind of discrimination grievance because I and the Troopers were white and the folks in the van
were Hispanic and we were trying to blame him for the accident unfairly.Never a mention of his inlaws, THAT WERE black,were
the ones that explained how they were trying to slow down and get in the right hand lane to avoid the wrecker and the van
and he tapped their cars rear while attempting to leapfrog as they were slowing and getting over.
I wound up towing the officers car to his house,,since he had AAA. Him and his wife rode with the inlaws and led they me to
the officers home.A roll back came from the next station south to pick up the van.This was due to two factors,,one was the
roll back could transport the van with the occupants in it.And the other was that that station had a secure impound yard.
The impound yard was important because the van folks were now acting like they didn't want any help and wanted to be left
on the side of the road.The Trooper that could speak Spanish said the old man told him that he had called some one to bring
him a battery and an alternator.
Which was odd since this was in the days before cell phones were available
to 'non affluent' folks.I suppose this was part of the reason why the game plan was 'laid out' by the Troopers.Since the common
procedure was the tow truck drivers and their managers determined what was done by whom and it was against rules and regs
for the turnpike to leave anyone on the side of the pike for any extended period of time,,regardless of day or night and yet
this plan was still presented in an 'informal yet authoratative fashion',,I caught on to the fact that the Troopers didn't
want the van folks to be able to resume their travel too soon.Later on,,I got to talk to the Trooper while we were both working
an accident,,and found out that the old man and a couple of the young dudes were 'coyotes' and even had a couple of bricks
of coke on them.
That tow ruck driving job ended rather oddly.I got accused of selling station inventory
and not turning the money in.And the truth wasn't that.Here is what happened,,a fellow popped a call box and I responded,,about
3:30 am and had a box truck that wouldn't keep running.
The driver claimed he simply needed a fuel
filter and that would fix the problem.
He was just south of the plaza so I actually pushed him about
a mile and a half to get him there with out having him incurr a 'hookup' fee,,just a service call charge.After checking the
inventory for the appropiate fuel filter,and finding out we didn't have one,I found one in the stuff I kept in my vehicle
for just such times as this.Working this kind of job one never knew when one could get 'very nice tips' by having something
needful so it was common for us drivers and pump boys to have 'junk' on hand.
And it just so happened,,what
he needed was what I used on my motor so I had the old one that I had changed out about 3 weeks before still in my stuff.I
hadn't changed due to there being a problem,,I had simply put a tune up on my engine.It wasn't exact but with a little bit
of hose it would do fine.Nothing we had on hand that he could afford could be made to work.
him he could have it for free but he was still going to pay for the service call,'work' I was doing and the hose needed to
make it fit.When I got done,,I filled out the invoice for the service call,, the labor and the hose.When he went to pay,,he
didn't have enough cash so he used a credit card.And,,no,,he didn't tip me.Not a cent.
As it turned
out,,that is NOT what the problem was.By the time I got done with him it was right at shift change.He had been gone maybe
30 minutes before I got out and I found him sitting about 3 miles north of the plaza.I stopped to see if I could help him
out and he said that a wire on his alternator or something had burned up or came loose or something like that.I offered to
give him a ride back to the plaze but he declined.He said he had allready popped the call box,, which was right there.
So,,I went on home.I had the next two days off and didn't think anything more about the fellow. Needless to say I was outright
surprised to show back up at work and find out my manager was irate with me.And he was even there at time for me to come on.Considering
he handled the 7-3 shift that alone was astounding.
He said that the guy had stated that I had said
that,,that was what was wrong with his vehicle and that I had charged him for a new filter and he wanted his money back and
a 'gratis' tow to Orlando as an apology for his troubles.My manager had given it to him,,even though the call sheet had my
notes about what the guy had said and we did to his vehicle and invoice didn't have a 'fuel filter' on it but did have the
notation that there was a used fuel filter installedAND that I had provided it.
So,,,I lost that
job.I got fired for that.Even though there was no reason to think I had stolen the filter except for the dude saying I took
it off the rack.I asked my manager if he had checked to see if one had been on the inventory sheets to validate the claim
that one was missing and he said no.I got fired for that.
Even though I was flabbergasted by the
event,later when I learned some facts about what the head office of the company that owned the station had thought of me,,I
was stunned that my manager had fired me.
The bookkeeper/secretary was a personal friend of mine
that I had known long before I began working there that time.And even though we didn't hang out together or anything like
that we were what you could call 'friends'.As a matter of fact,,I didn't see that person for about a year or so after I lost
the job.But as things go,,I wound up having a talk with them in which they told me that there had been quite a few 'commendations'
from the 'comapany' sent to the station for me that I had never heard about.In that persons words,,'a stack of around 20 or
so' were sent and the manager had simply put them in the safe,,'with others that had been sent for other employees'.
Now,,I got to thinking.I had been aware of what the bid for the service contract that the station was operating under contained.How
did I know that?Thanks to the fact that I worked midnight shift as a rule and that the boredom and constant fight against
the drowsies quite often lead one to be forced to find things to do to keep the mind awake.
night,,I was doing 'shift paper work' and when I got done,,I kept looking through the file cabinet.I found the contract that
the company was operating under with the Turnpike.I found out that the 'bid' which was accepted had a 'pay scale' for employees
that was way OVER what I knew was being payed.And a slew of other things that one couldn't make add up right even with
What difference did that make?To me,,a lot.Here I was,,and others as well,not only
entitled to better starting wages but were even supposed to be dealt with through a merit based pay system.Along with percentages
on labor,item sales and tow charges.Add to that the fact that the company had issued 'commendation' recommendations which
were supposed to be used during 'raise increase reviews',,that NEVER occurred.It was an accepted fact of life that a raise
was rarely, very rarely ever bestowed by the manager.
Those documents also had a 'wage schedule'
for the manager himself.Of course they were common provisions for management as regards bonus distribution based on how far
under budget or how big a 'profit' the station manager managed to show.The company had a good package for it's employees,,it
really did from what I seen.Heck,,we were even supposed to recieve insurance and have a savings plan and other provisions
and perks according to what the company documents said.
Yet,,not only were we not getting them,,it
was never so much as hinted that we were supposed to.I worked there for years,,and on several different occasions and those
kinds of things weren't ever a part of working there under that company.But it wasn't expected either since it was never considered
something one would get.
Yeah,,that was a year after that time,,I did work there again later,,but that
is another story.Yet after that time,,I wound up finding out the part that causes me to include it here.
Several years after I worked there for the last time,, I again had a conversation with the same person as before.This time,,we
were both attendees of the same church and the company had lost the contract with the Turnpike about 3 years before this conversation.And
that was about a year after that mangager had been found out to be something of a cheat and a deceiver.As it turned out,,he
had finally been caught book cooking.When that occured,,it was discovered he had been in the country for over a decade on
an expired visitors visa.
Of course,,by the time that was revealed,,he had allready closed out his bank
accounts and returned to his own country,,Austria or Germany,I believe.
The next story is primarily
about my wife not me.Without getting into the situation we were under at the time,,lets just say we were suffering from a
'domicile deficiency'.Which doesn't change anything regarding the elements of the tale.It just shows where we were at in life
at that time.Oh,,and the employer involved knew it as well.
end part 3
( intro ) ( prt1 ) ( prt1of prt2 ) ( prt2 of prt2 ) ( prt3) ( prt4) (prt5)