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Old 06-11-2010, 05:36 PM   #1
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...Like an Indiana Jones Movie...

Many of you know I work for an RV dealership, and while most of the time it's the same day-in, day-out, sometimes there are things that happen there that are strange and exciting. There are days I am convinced my customers are trying to kill me in a spectacular fashion... Like today...

This morning started off innocuously enough, with a customer coming in with his 5th wheel for some roof work. I climbed up, assessed what needed to be done, and got my tools and materials while the customer wandered inside the showroom to look at new trailers. I was about 80% done with the job when the customer came out of the building, climbed in his truck, started the engine, and took off. Towing the 5'er. With me on the roof. Naturally, nobody was anywhere nearby to head off the guy as we rolled across the parking lot, and onto the main driveway leading to the road. We were picking up speed pretty fast, and I had only seconds to act. I had the choice of either going to the front and jumping into the bed, risking fouling the hitch and getting mangled, or heading to the rear and jumping off the back onto the asphalt that was moving by at an increasing clip. I opted for the latter, since I know what road rash feels like, and considered it better than getting ground up in between the truck and trailer (if I didn't fall off and get dragged under the wheels). I ran to the rear, and started down the ladder there. The driver slowed to make the last turn onto the highway as I grabbed the top rung of the ladder, and I jumped off, figuring that was the slowest speed I was going to see. I landed on my feet, running as fast as I could to keep from eating asphalt, and gradually slowed to a walk, while watching the 5'er rapidly dwindling into a speck on the Interstate.
I limped back into the shop, and told the general manager what happened. He called the customer, and not too politely told him he needed to check his rig for passengers and tools that I had left on the roof from my uncompleted repair job.
He also suggested the customer not return for a while, until my temper had cooled off... So, all the rest of today, everybody at work was calling me either Bruce (Bruce Willis), or Roof Man. I have now suggested issuing parachutes to employees so they can just pull the cord the next time this happens.

So, important safety tip: If you're getting your RV repaired, please make sure the tech is done, and not on board your rig, before you depart.

I'm going to go have a scotch and soda, hold the soda...
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Old 06-11-2010, 05:46 PM   #2
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Whoa, I'm glad you got off of there, relatively unscathed.

Our dealer's techs always ask for the vehicle keys before assessing any service issues. I can see your manager putting that policy in place in the very near future.

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Old 06-14-2010, 01:26 AM   #3
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I would think that they owuld have to drop the trailer for you to do work on it. I would never climb the roof w/o at least taking the keys. Glad you are OK.
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Old 06-14-2010, 05:11 AM   #4
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I would think that they owuld have to drop the trailer for you to do work on it. I would never climb the roof w/o at least taking the keys. Glad you are OK.
I still have the keys in my pocket, and when the customer UPS's my equipment back to me, I'll mail him his set. It seems he had duplicates.
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Old 06-14-2010, 11:55 AM   #5
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I feel for you, good luck in getting your gear back. Maybe the dealership should change their ways and require the owners to drop the TT/5TH wheels. Then move them to a spot where they can work on them safely
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Old 06-14-2010, 06:36 PM   #6
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Wow, can't top that. The scotch sounds good
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Old 06-15-2010, 06:10 AM   #7
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Glad you were not injured. As for the customer, it is scary that these are the same people that are out there voting in elections.

I think I would require a trailer to be disconnected or in the case of a motorhome, a big plastic or cardboard sign plastered to the windshield. That would also work on a truck and trailer.

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Old 06-15-2010, 06:39 AM   #8
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Glad you were not injured. As for the customer, it is scary that these are the same people that are out there voting in elections.

I think I would require a trailer to be disconnected or in the case of a motorhome, a big plastic or cardboard sign plastered to the windshield. That would also work on a truck and trailer.

Ken
Luckily for me, it was a small 5th wheel, the roof was not as high, and I was able to grab a railing on the roof and hang from that rather than trying to do a swan dive off a 13' tall unit. Still, dropping 6-8 feet from a moving trailer is not the way I want to start my mornings. I'll take my morning jolt from a cup of coffee, thank you.
We're trying to decide how much impact this should have on our day-to-day operations. 99% of the time, having the keys in the tech's pocket, or locked in a drawer of his toolbox, is sufficient. Then, even if the customer forgets, 99% of that time they'll ask the people in the shop if they've seen the keys that they've forgotten they gave to the tech. so, how much do we do for that 1% of 1%? I'm thinking a wooden block or something in front of the tow vehicle's front tire might be enough. After all, as Ron White says, you can't fix stoopid.

Of course, I'm wondering if that almost-full gallon can of rubber roof coating is still riding around on the back of the 5th wheel, or if it fell off onto a following motorist's windshield...
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Old 06-15-2010, 06:40 AM   #9
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Just another reason to not allow customers in the shop area. Just curious, why did he choose to leave so quickly? In my opinion, your shop needs to review or maybe even set in place procedures for customers in the repair areas or certainly how a rv is to be returned to the customer. I can't imagine walking in to the service area, getting in my motorhome and driving off. They have always brought it to me. BTW...did he pay for the service?
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Old 06-15-2010, 06:55 AM   #10
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Just another reason to not allow customers in the shop area. Just curious, why did he choose to leave so quickly? In my opinion, your shop needs to review or maybe even set in place procedures for customers in the repair areas or certainly how a rv is to be returned to the customer. I can't imagine walking in to the service area, getting in my motorhome and driving off. They have always brought it to me. BTW...did he pay for the service?
It was supposed to be a "quick fix", and was not even pulled into the shop. It was a warranty repair, so he didn't have to pay the bill, though he was supposed to sign the completed work order. So, the truck and trailer were parked next to the shop, and all he had to do was climb in and go. We did that to minimize the hassle to the customer.
Hindsight is always 20/20, so the fact he was originally there for repairs to his roof because he forgot he was pulling his trailer, and drove under a canopy, and tore off everything from the a/c forward should have been a hint he was clueless...
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Old 06-15-2010, 07:08 AM   #11
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I guess the bottom line...you were lucky. I just hope you will be the next time. I'm sure your company's insurance would have had a hay day if you had been injured with the lack of safety procedures in place.
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Old 06-15-2010, 07:52 AM   #12
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That's an amazing and terrible story but I've got one that tops that!
A while back....
Just kidding.... that's just what you expect to hear when you are talking to RVers so I couldn't resist!
I am very glad to hear that you are safe and pretty much unharmed. I may have to look into something to keep me and my wife safe when we are working on someones roof.
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:10 AM   #13
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Old 06-18-2010, 01:34 AM   #14
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Maybe with a lil luck the gallon of adhesive rolled forward as he braked and came down on his roof. Nah! couldn't get that lucky. lol
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