Doesn’t Give A Fork(lift) What Comes Out Of His Mouth

, , , , , , , | Working | August 14, 2018

I work for a medium-sized haulage company as a driver, and also as an extra hand in the warehouse — I’m qualified to drive fork lift trucks — whenever I need to make some extra cash.

Our warehouse only has two permanent staff: the warehouse manager who is a hard-working, highly capable man in his 30s, and the permanent forklift driver, who is a deeply unhealthy man in his late 50s with serious work ethic issues and almost non-existent people skills, who’s pretty much coasting until retirement at this point.

The forklift driver is almost invariably in a bad mood, always hungover, and generally just an a**e to everyone who sets foot in the yard, often going as far as insulting individuals or their parentage, etc. However, if you confront him about his behaviour — he’s not a large man, and forty years of heavy smoking hasn’t done him any favours — he will back down permanently against you as an individual and be considerably more polite with you from then on.

Truckers aren’t exactly a passive lot, so unsurprisingly, the majority of our own staff have had words with him at one time or another, so with our own staff he’s not too bad anymore. That being said, people from third parties pretty much always get grief off of him for pointless things like parking in the wrong bit of the yard when it’s completely empty, etc.

It was just past seven pm and we were pretty much done for the day when a van appeared to drop off the last pallet of the day, parking slightly off to the side. We do have marked bays for unloading vehicles, but we generally make no effort to enforce this until we get more than one vehicle in the yard. However, the forklift driver shouted, “Can you not see the bay? Did your mum not teach you to read, you stupid, dumb c***?”

In a shocking twist, the van driver had an issue with this comment, and emerged from his van to reveal he was well clear of six-and-a-half feet tall and had a build not all that far from a rhino on steroids. He calmly said, “Do you want to f****** say that again?”

Knowing at this point how deeply screwed he was, the forklift driver frantically tried to backpedal as the van driver walked up to him, calmly applied the forklifts handbrake, and then gripped the forklift driver with both hands and lifted and pinned him to the roof of the forklift. He then hissed something into the guy’s ear, and the forklift driver frantically bleated out a string of apologies. The van driver dropped him back into his seat and turned to the warehouse manager and me, who had gathered nearby to try and intervene if things really kicked off.

The van driver calmly asked, “Bay 1?” My manager confirmed this and we unloaded his pallet. Once he’d left, we asked the forklift driver if he was okay and whether he wanted the police called. He declined the police and just opted to go home.

I didn’t hear what the van driver said to him, and he’s never discussed it since, but it shook him up so much he was nice to everyone for about six weeks afterwards.  

I don’t condone violence as a way of getting your point across, but this guy’s been threatened by so many people at this point that I’m amazed he hasn’t learned to keep his mouth shut yet.

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