Good morning friends,
I hope all are doing fine on this hump day. I’m now in Nashville, Tennessee looking to close out
the south with a Tennessee gig. I didn’t have any success in Memphis but I did score a gig yesterday out of nearby Jonesboro, AK. It was a frustrating and tragic event, not so much for me but for the folks involved. Good or bad it was a paid job so this
is my official Arkansas gig and this is how it went down.
On Sunday I arrived in Memphis from Mississippi hoping to score my Tennessee and Arkansas gigs in order to be able to finally secure
the southern states and head north to Chicago, Indianapolis and Milwaukee. I didn’t see much activity in Little Rock so I decided look for something in the northern part of the state. I saw an ad for help unloading a moving van in Jonesboro for Tuesday
morning, 4 hour minimum, $14 and hour. Not much I figured but I’m not in the position to be choosey, so I jumped right on it. Within the hour the poster responded with just a start time of seven am, with further details to come. I wasn’t too concerned
thinking I might be able to score a Monday job there in Memphis.
On Monday night I emailed the person to confirm the moving gig and get an address. I figured I would drive the 150 miles
to Jonesboro that evening in order to be ready and somewhat rested for the seven o’clock start time. They confirmed the job with the address so I fueled up, grabbed a drink and off I went to Arkansas at 6:30 pm.
I woke up and washed off the cobwebs at the Love’s TS. I drove in the dark sipping my coffee and following the GPS to the town of Doniphan. I didn’t know what to expect and was a little nervous about the
whole thing. Not that unusual but more than the normal. I arrived at day break, on time and there was no moving truck or activity. I texted the poster and he informed me that he was on his way. Within minutes a car drove up with two younger guys who had
also been contracted via craigslist to help unload. Then a man and a woman walked out to greet us. They had just recently moved from Oregon and the van was bringing the rest of their possessions. After walking us through the house and explaining that the
items and boxes would be marked for easy placement, all we needed was for the truck to arrive. It seemed pretty basic and the homeowners, Jerry and Gina seemed very friendly and happy to finally be getting their stuff. Minutes later the driver arrived, that’s when their happiness would end.
Jonathan the driver and the poster introduced himself and quickly
explained that his semi would not be able to navigate the narrow streets leading to the corner lot. With not many personal or professional qualities in his repertoire, Jonathan coldly explained to the couple that he would have to unload the cargo somewhere
and reload them on a rented truck, at their expense, in order to be able to complete the move. No, ifs or buts! To their great shock and disbelief they scrambled on the phone
to try to reach the moving company to inform them of the dilemma. Meanwhile the driver searched for a nearby rental location. As a hired hand I had no say in the matter,
so the boys and I walked out of the house once the shock turned to anger and tears, and rightfully so. We waited in the yard until things got straighten out; in the meantime Isaiah, Zach and I got better acquainted.
After a spell Jonathan exited the house and said he found a truck to rent. What really struck me was that he didn’t even try to back up the truck and at least see if he could somehow pull it off. It would have at the very
least put Jerry and Gina’s mind at ease knowing that there was no other way but his. So off we went to the U-Haul center a few minutes away. Now I assumed we were going to unload the van and transport it the two blocks downhill two maybe three times.
It would be a hassle but sometimes money is earned easy and sometimes hard. Jonathan assured the three of us that we would get paid no matter how long it took. I was ready for a quick four hour day but now it looked like a full day was on hand. Jonathan though
had other ideas.
He insisted once we got the rural rental center that we would unload everything there on the ground, dirt and all! Despite protest from Jerry who had followed us there to pay for the truck, it became apparent that Jonathan’s concern was not that of his immediate customers and of their personal possessions, but only of getting paid and moving
on to his next scheduled stop in Ohio. He was determined to dump all the items on the ground (many that were very heavy and valuable) and leave the moving to me and these two teenage boys, ignoring his door to door portion of the contract!
And so we began to unload and reload the truck as Jonathan and Jerry checked every item one by one, off the list as Gina continued to try to get some kind of explanation on the phone. Then to add insult
to injury many of the nicely packed boxes and valuables were crushed and damaged beyond repair. Jerry could only shake his head with frustration and horror as box after box just unloaded unrecognizable. It was a sad and inexcusable scene for me, filled with
feelings of injustice and indignation. I lesser man would have gone postal under that predicament, but to Jerrys credit he kept his cool. I don't know what the Johnny Man would have done if I were in his shoes, but a night in jail might have been my
fate. It only got worst.
Jonathan then had the audacity to inform Jerry that he was only going to cover our pay for the first 4 hours and that they would have to pay us the reminding
hours that we would be needed. It was another shocking revelation to these fine folks who by then felt like they were in some Twilight Zone episode. I pleaded my case to Jonathan, insisting that he was the one who hired me and he was responsible for paying
the hired help. It fell on deaf ears. He told me in some kind of mumble jumble logic that he was doing them a favor by not charging them for other outstanding fees. I had no dog in the fight, but I sure felt like these people were being scammed out of their
mind and hard worked money. There was frustratingly very little I could do but watch all these unscrupulous business practices unfold in front of my eyes, so unfair.
By 3 pm, ‘Mr.
Personality’ Jonathan, rolled away with his money and on to Ohio where I assume his next unsuspecting victims await their own nightmare. I didn’t have all the details about the move or read any contracts or agreements, so I can only speculate,
but it seems their original contractor sold the moving gig to a sub-contractor somewhere along the way, without their knowledge or consent. Then they contracted a loser like Jonathan, a man clearly without a conscience or moral gene in his being to drive
and deliver the goods to their location. He is in it only for the money, no more, no less.
The lesson I suppose (I’ve never hired a moving company before) is to do research and due
diligence with whomever you use to transport your possessions. Read the fine print and hold them responsible!
In the end I was the last one left after the boys had to leave for the day. Isaiah
and Zach are cousins and were a joy to work with. They busted their butts all day, especially Isaiah. Come to find out their nana is a full blooded Mexican and they are proud out their 25% beaner blood! I guess 25% is better than nada!
I finished empting out the last load with some help from Jerry and chatted a while with Gina and her sister and brother in-law. I urged them to pursue the company with legal some recourse and to write a strongly
worded Yelp about their experience. They paid me the last five hours plus and thanked me for my hard work. I wish my story and experience would have had a better and happier outcome, but this tour is about real life and I had a front row seat to the ugly part
of what should have been an easy and joyful day moving. The reality is that people like Jonathan exsist no matter where you live. It was no reflextion on the state or the people from this area, it can happen anywhere.
I’m not sure who to credit with this gig, but I will thank Jerry and Gina and wish them the best in their efforts to recoup some of their money from that unfortunate event.
Thanks to all of you good folks who take the time to follow and support my journey.