We’ve all had our trying days during buyback and rush. Between a steady flow of customers and questions, there are numerous challenges and our representatives always try to be ready to overcome them. However, this year, MBS Territory Manager Jeremy Roush, found himself in a predicament for which he wasn't quite prepared. Below, he describes the unusual circumstances he found himself faced with as he was trapped in an elevator during one of this year’s buys.
Buyback is always an interesting experience. From colorful comments about the price of books to the occasional disgruntled customer, there are always new challenges to overcome and this year was certainly no exception. I had just finished a buyback and was in the process of overseeing their shipment to MBS when it all started.
Because the shipment was so large, with over 30,000 lbs of freight, it had to be sent by a third party, so I found myself waiting for a truck driver to arrive. I had received a call from the driver early that morning, asking the best way to get to campus from a nearby town.
I thought to myself, “Well Mr. Truck Driver, I’m from Canton, Ohio myself, so I have no idea!” I decided to meet him at a landmark and have him follow me there. Little did I know that driving directions would be the least of our worries that day.
Once we arrived, we learned that the campus does not allow unauthorized vehicles on the premises, for security reasons. After some persuading and some waiting, we were finally granted access and allowed to proceed to the warehouse where the books were stored.
With the day off to a slow start, the driver and I were ready to get to work; but this is where things really got interesting! Our task involved transporting 17 skids of books, one by one, through an old freight elevator (and the key word here is old!) in the back of the warehouse.
We loaded our first skid into the elevator and got a glimpse of just how old it was; we found only two buttons inside, up and down, with no floor numbers to guide us.
Despite the age of the elevator, we made six successful trips and were nearly halfway finished with transporting the books when something very unexpected happened. On the next trip, we descended down, down, down, as we had six times before, from the 4th floor when, boom! We came grinding to a halt, stuck in between two floors. So, there I was, stranded in a dark elevator with a truck driver I had only met an hour ago – not exactly the morning event I had anticipated!
Like most people would, I immediately grabbed for my cell phone only to remember one horrible detail: I had taken it out of my pocket just minutes before, leaving it with the rest of the skids of books below. In an unfortunate twist of fate, the driver’s phone was still in his truck, too.
After trying to pry the doors open to no avail, we yelled for nearly 30 minutes before we finally grabbed the attention of someone to help. From trying to pull the doors open to resetting the elevator from the outside, the elevator would not budge. A few jokes were tossed our way like "the elevator repair man is on vacation," and "hope you boys ate a good lunch!" I sure learned a lot about the driver's life story quickly during that wait!
Eventually, the local Fire Department had to be called and they came to our rescue. After an hour of being trapped, the doors were open and we were free!
Unfortunately, our difficulties didn’t end there, though. I still had a skid of cartons in the elevator and my only pallet jack stuck nearly 3 feet down from the closest floor. So, one by one, we had to unload that pallet on to a new one outside and lift the pallet jack out.
The remaining 10 skids had to be pulled through office hallways to another freight elevator on the other side of the building. From start to finish, this whole process took us over four hours and then, finally, the books were on their way to MBS!
Through it all, the driver was a such good sport about the situation. I received a call from him the following Monday letting me know that the load had been delivered to MBS. He said it was nice to meet me and joked that the next time there's a call to pick up some freight for me; he will be taking the day off!
The whole experience was one I never thought I’d be put in, but it has honestly taught me the value of patience and the importance of being able to laugh at yourself, which are lessons I can take with me to future buybacks and beyond. It was certainly a Friday to remember!