There is a moral to this story, I’ll tell you what it is at the end. I recently had to have a few days off work, you know that Covid thing that I thought was all over and done with. Well, it decided to make a visit, don’t know how, but it sneaked up and got me.

So, feeling sorry for myself at home, I could hardy speak, and certainly didn’t want to look at my phone or laptop – I was to all intents and purposes, out of circulation. The world outside had stopped.

As soon as I did start feeling a bit less like a zombie, I looked at some emails, and listened to some voicemails, and to be honest, some did make me chuckle. Then the phone calls started, virtually repeating what the voice mails said a day or two earlier.

“The windscreen has now got a huge crack in it, can’t drive it.” He forgot to add it has had a big chip on it for six months and couldn’t be bothered to get it fixed.

Another left a voicemail, and quickly followed up with a call: “I want a new van, this one is too big to drive.” But the new vans are even bigger, I responded. “It doesn’t matter. I just want a new van,” he said.

And I got a thank you from a driver, by email – nice, eh! He sent a photo of his dog, too. I helped him when he had a roadside breakdown, so he got home – later than normal, but he got home. The photo of his dog was because it was so happy to have him home.

And then I had a voicemail asking to call them back. The message went something like this: “Everything seems to be going wrong for me now, and when I say everything, I mean everything. When you’ve got five minutes, can you call me back, and I’ll explain.” Five minutes I thought, it sounds more like five hours of my valuable time – I didn’t call back.

And then there was the driver who wanted to tell me all about his garage experience. “The garage is rubbish, it’s useless, and I’m not going back.” “Why,” I asked? “I can’t tell you,” he replied, “I’m not a grass.” So what was the point of that call?

An order for a new car came in, the driver specified: fully electric front seats, voice control, and the car in Mythos Black. I replied that realistically it will have front seats, you can talk to your car while moving the seats manually, and the colour will depend on how dirty it is – that’s the reality of new cars now.

Another driver called to say the car he’d just taken delivery of was not a white car. “It is,” I said. “No, it’s not, it’s a sort of creamy colour.” “It is white,” I said. “No, it’s not,” he said. “I am going to look like I’m driving a fridge for the next three-years!” A creamy coloured fridge, I thought. Most fridges are white anyway? What an odd phone call.

But then, as a fleet manager, you do get to deal with all sorts of nice people…

After getting the all-clear from Covid, it was back into the fun-filled action-packed office.

Many challenges met me, but one that stands out was the recently recruited young person, starting as a junior engineer. He wasn’t happy, the car I had allocated him was a bit bigger than his Volkswagen Up! he’d been driving since passing his test, a hand-me-down from an elderly relative. He had serious concerns about driving it, and very worried about bumping or scratching it. I had some sympathy with him, and as the ‘part-time’ fleet manager, with very little to do, I put my corporate hat on, and found – after much research – a course that should hopefully allay his fears and keep me and the company away from corporate manslaughter charges and expensive repair bills. After all, I’m doing my job properly keeping the lad safe, by giving him the correct training. 

His manager came into the office a few days later and I told him about the course, fully expecting to get a high-five, invite to the pub for a beer, a packet of chocolate biscuits or a simple ‘thanks’. No, I got a barrage of abuse. He stood inches from my face and said, “we don’t have time for all this rubbish, waste of time, and he needs to grow up”. Finally, he stormed out saying “you fleet do-gooders”. 

I was, to say the least, a bit upset and shocked. At the weekend we had a family BBQ and I was telling everyone about my week, and the problems and hassle and abuse. 

My mum was quick to say, “if you think you’ve got problems, that’s nothing, I’ve got a mole in my garden”.

So the moral of the story is, or the two morals are 1) don’t be ill or go on holiday as it just isn’t worth all the problems you come back to. 2) don’t try and tell anyone about your work issues or the people you work with at a BBQ if they have moles in their garden.

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