Cracks in the Foundation

Richard Ramis, AYS Dispatch, Inc.

If you recall, some time ago I told you the story of Michigan Matt. Michigan Matt, who had the propensity to lose things has been one of my primary senior dispatchers for some time. Now firstly I must confess, his real name is Massachusetts Mickey. He did not want me to use his real name and that was ok. Massachusetts like Worcestershire is simply too complex a name. Seriously, let’s cut down the syllables.

On another note, I must confess. I no longer have the patience to dispatch non greeter Logan inbounds. Even for smart people it is like doing the hokey pokey, the day after your lobotomy.

Anyway I needn’t have to remind all. We are in challenging times right now. People seemingly work harder and longer to accomplish the same thing as we did in the past. The client base or more specifically, the public, has adopted a real mean nasty demeanor or so it appears.

I can’t say what came first. The attitude or the action but is has become a wild ride dealing with many people. I have started to notice cracks in the foundation of many people I work with and who work with me. It also intrigues me how everyone seems to have lost their sense of time and social balance. I get drivers answering help wanted ads at 300am and brides to be quote fishing at 1100pm. Society needs a major re-boot.

One night I am working with Mickey and a client calls in to book a morning order. It was about 1030pm and this particular company always supplies us with at least one PM go to and typically 1–2 AM go to people. Naturally if a new order comes in, we will try to fit in the existing line up.

I should also note while many client’s caller ID rings through, some clients phone systems show their office number on caller ID. In this case that account shows the office number. The gentleman says he needs an early morning pick up in a particular suburb to go to the airport. Mickey asks for his phone number and the guy starts screaming, “Look at your screen, I use you all the time.” We explain our system was being updated and then he screams, then get a new system. Mickey had enough. He said we need advance notice, we are booked and hung up on him.

I don’t recall the last time I witnessed him if ever lose his temper but I tend to think it was justified. Don’t get me wrong I am supposed to argue it is never justified but times be a changing. I make a note to listen to the recording later and told Mickey to take a break and cool down.

Then it happens, five, maybe 10 minutes later the call comes in on another service and it was him, I could firstly tell because the area code was unique to his area. I personally take the call. Here was the nicest person I ever spoke to politely requesting a morning order to the airport. In a way it is pathetic that a client must do this. A real man would call back and apologize on the original line but it is 2022 after all.

For the sake of sounding overly dramatic I must move fast. It reminds me of those movie scenes where the special agent doesn’t know whether to cut the red or blue wire and he must save the planet.

So here is where we stand. This other company is one of my oldest and they will and have backed me up with anything I do. They have full faith and confidence in our actions.

Firstly, I could do the Statue of liberty play. Only did it once. And I do not encourage this behavior for the record. It was a long time ago in a different era and I was young and likely had an issue with the caller. The process entails booking the order and not showing up. When they call at 600am I claim you said 600pm.

Secondly, I can book and cover it. Note to self, “do pigs fly?”

Thirdly, I could laugh in his face and say, “who are you last minute Larry” The clock was ticking, I simply and very politely declined availability.

In closing, I need to get something off my chest. A confession if you will. In the very late 70’s, possibly early 80’s I was a limousine operator. I had a great client who would often refer business to me. One day I get a call from a girl who made it clear that he referred her. What made this caller unique was although my client was a highly refined gentleman, this female caller was obviously intellectually challenged. Perhaps had a speech impediment but either way was outwardly low class. I found it strange that she could know this person, but I must follow through. It was a basic 2 one-way trips to a wedding venue, also known as pick and drop in this market. It was a party of 5 and all I ran in the day was Cadillac factory jump seat limousines.

I give her a fair discounted quote and we were confirmed. In those days there were no computers, credit cards or technology. I recall fax machines were just getting a foothold in business at the time.

Almost immediately I realized I made a mistake booking her. Not that I really had any choice. It starts out a couple days later, “Can we bring our cooler and leave it in the car”. Normally, that converts it to an hourly, but I knew I was asking for trouble, so I agree. Then she asks later if they can pick up 2 of the people at work since they get out late and it is on the way. Every other day it was something.When I learned it was her calling, I got a knot in my stomach.

Then the miracle occurs. About three days before the order, she calls me and starts yelling. I quote, “Rich why are you Effing me”. I say what are you talking about. She says she called XYZ limousine, and they agreed to do the job for thirty dollars less each way.

Now I know XYZ limousine, they are an older, family run, well respected area operation. I have no idea how the connection was made, nor do I know what caused her to shop after our deal was agreed upon, but she said cancel and frankly that was fine by me.

That following Friday, coincidentally the day of her trip I was having lunch at the Wag’s restaurant near Wrigley field. One reason I loved that restaurant was their parking lot was limo friendly, and since cell phones were still in its infancy stage that restaurant had 3 pay phones in the lobby. I am eating lunch and somehow while staring at the pay phones I start internally fuming at this entire adventure. I was in a temporary dark place. I get up, I walk to the payphone, put a quarter in and call XYZ limousine. I explain I am the woman’s boyfriend, and she suffered a family emergency. I tell them to cancel the order and if any charges are incurred just mail her the bill and we hope to reschedule soon. XYZ graciously agreed and my dark deed was done.

Looking back, it reminded me of the Robert DeNiro’s payphone scene in Goodfella’s when he discovers the fate of Joe Pesci. In my case it was reversed but nonetheless that was the vibe.

Thanks for allowing me to vent.

Do I have any regrets?

One response to “Cracks in the Foundation”

  1. Frank Miulli Avatar

    Love these short stories, looking forward for more to come.

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