You Crossed The Wrong Guy

| Working | August 5, 2016

(I work for a feed mill. The mill itself serves most of the farmers in the area, and covers an area of about a square mile. Most of that area is taken up by a rail yard for incoming and outgoing cars. I am a train operator, though with a remote control pack which lets me operate the engine from the ground, and usually well away from it. I’m on shift, moving a cut of eight or nine cars out of one track of the yard to the unloading area. As I’m riding the engine out, checking the cars as they come out of the siding, I hear a very loud bang and feel the engine start to shudder. It finally stops moving, right in the middle of the crossing, blocking all traffic in either direction. Climbing down, I find that I’ve derailed. I call management to let them know this, while trying to direct traffic to use another crossing further up. As I’m doing this, a guy waiting at the crossing comes piling out of his car and heading my way. You can see that he’s livid, which in all honesty, I can’t blame him for.)

Man: “How long are you going to be here blocking traffic?”

Me: “Honestly, don’t know. We’re on the ground here.”

Man: “I know that. I want to know how long before you move that d*** thing so I can get to work.”

Me: “Best guess: six, maybe seven hours. Depends on how long it takes a crane to get out here.”

Man: “I want that thing out of the way NOW! Get up there and move it.”

Me: “You want me to what, pick that up with my bare hands and move it? Do I look like the Hulk to you?”

Man: “No, you f****** moron. I want you to back that d*** thing up so I can pass.”

Me: “Sir, it’s derailed. It’s not going anywhere. You can use [next crossing up] if you need.”

Man: “It’s not f****** derailed, you moron. You just stopped it. I watched you pull up and stop. Don’t f****** lie to me!”

Me: “Whatever. It’s not going anywhere, so you can just piss off.”

(About this time the police arrive, along with the fire department and a few other lookie-loos. Local news even turns up. The officer starts making people back up, and go to the next crossing, only to have the man walk up to him and start shouting. After a minute or two, the cop and man come over to me.)

Cop: “This gentleman says you’re not derailed, and that you just stopped here. Is that true?”

(I look up at the engine, which is skewed off the track and sitting in the crossing at an angle. It’s also listing to one side by a few degrees.)

Me: “Stupid question here. Trains need tracks to run on right?”

Man: “So?”

Me: “Do you see it sitting on the track there?”

Man: “I don’t f****** care! Just get that d*** thing moved!”

Cop: “He has a point, sir. Now you can just go around, or sit here until it’s cleaned up. Your choice.”

(It took three hours for the crane to arrive, another two to get the engine back on the tracks, and one more for the city to repave the road (and this time not pave over the tracks) before everything was cleared. The guy sat in his car the whole time, waiting for it to finish. By about midnight, he was waved through the crossing, giving a parting flip of the bird as he passed. That other crossing? About five hundred feet just up the road.)

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