What you do not know because you are not me - M. Ring
I help out with a lot of races. One of the behind the scenes challenges is getting the stuff there. Ya know… Logistics.
A small race is not always easier. They don’t always come with car permits, so we have to carry gallons of water and timing mats from the street to the nice part of the park where we want to start and finish our race. Gigantic races like the Rock & Roll 10K came with Teamsters, so my job was easy.
For races like the Turkey Trot we rent a U-Haul. In the past we got a cargo van. But even with the Bishop Ford people using their school buses the van was packed. So this year I was going to get a 14’ truck. This was going to make it much easier to gather up 20 cases of apples, 20 folding tables, about 50 signs, 2 big clocks 1 giant ladder and 3 big ladders, a few thousand cups and 6 giant apple pies. I figured at 14’ truck would be fine. I was gonna pick up Anne (Mrs. President) and head over to Costco. But then Anne mentions that we are going to take Pat Meany (The First Lady) too. “But it only has two seats” “No problem,” Anne says, “I can sit in the back.” No and No, not with all that stuff. I get a 17’ truck, it has 3 seats. I only costs a few cents more per mile and we were only gonna drive about 25 miles in 2 days.
Usually U-Hauls look like the ones in the photo. They are a year or two old with less than 20,000 miles and they run like new. Not the truck they gave me. I was covered in scratches and had almost a quarter of a million miles. I was kinda glad, they would not notice the new dings I would put on it. But the fact that the Check Engine Light was on should have tipped me off to a problem. The U-Haul dude told me not to worry about it. I shoulda worried.
After I picked up the First Lady and Mrs. President we headed over to Rothman’s to get 20 cases of apples. That's when we realized the truck was a clunker. It didn't like to change gears and it was not only the check engine light that was on. All the gauges were in the red. Whatever, all we had to do is get to to Costco, Bishop Ford, and then Prospect Park. Not-so-good. Just after I say “Wow we were actually going 30 MHP on Prospect Park South West, the engine stops. The fact that it just started raining made it appear that smoke was coming out of from under the hood.
The the three of us abandoned the vehicle in the left lane of PPSW just before Park Circle. We called U-Haul and Tom Meany. Before the service truck even got there the track teams from Bishop Ford began transferring the stuff from the truck into their school vans. (Yes, in the middle of the street… in the rain.) Then the U-Haul dude showed up “Ya got gas?!!?!?” “Yea, I got gas” He just turned the key and it started. He says "It is fine, finish your move." “But why did it stop?” “Don’t worry about it,” he replied. I was worried.
So we chugged over to the Audubon Center at The Boathouse to unload the rest of the stuff. We decided then to return the truck immediately instead of after the Turkey Trot. Pat Meany (Bless her soul!) said “I will ride back with you, just in case you have any problems.” At the time I did not give that much thought, If all went well she would have given up her ride home with her husband walk back to 8th Ave from 4th Ave. But all did not go well. The truck stalled every time I took my foot off the gas. When we finally made it up Flatbush Ave, it totally died in front of the library. Again we called U-Haul and Tom. This time it took 2 hours for a tow truck to come and thanks to Pat I did not have to sit there alone… in the rain… with a dead cell phone. When Tom came to rescue us he was impressed with the quantity of steam his wife and I got on the truck windows.
Eventually a different tow truck guy showed up. “Ya got gas?” Not funny. I told him to take the thing away and I thought I was done with U-Haul for a while. Not so much. Every 24 house for the next 4 days they called me, “When are you going to bring the truck back?” I told them the same thing, “You have it and when are you going to REFUND ALL my money you charged me to rent that POS?” They had no clue.
On the Wednesday after Thanksgiving they finally figured out that they had their truck and they sent me a statement. They charged me for the 15 miles I put on the truck (maybe counting the miles the truck was on the hook) and insisted that they can not refund the 2-day insurance insurance for 2 days. They actually expected me to pay for the insurance on a truck that I did not even have on the second day. (BTW, insurance on U-Haul costs more than the daily rental rate.)
So I walked over to the U-Haul place and introduced my self. The clerk looked me up on her computer and said “Are you finished with the truck yet?” Ack. I have to deal with a wall a bureaucracy to get my money back.
I decided to say calm. In reality it was not even my money, PPTC was going to reimburse me. But that made me even madder. This was a charity; they really should have given us the truck for free. So I walked into the U-Haul and asked for the manager. She was there but busy. After waiting on line I got to the clerk and said “No I do not need to rent anything, I just want to make sure I have all my facts straight before I get in touch with your corporate offices in Arizona. When I was less than half way through my tale of woe, the manager came over and instructed the clerk to issue me a complete refund.
But I did not believe it till I saw it.