My travels went through Washington state, delivering auto parts.
My ad on Craigslist was requesting an office job that I could do for a few weeks until my other job starts that I blogged about here. I was answered by about seven or eight people; some were weird replies, such as “ready to work?” and that was all they wrote, to long explanations about what they needed me to do, vague, not really saying what the job was about. Just “running errands” and the red flag: depositing money into a bank account, you know, those kinds of scams out there. Don’t do anything where they talk about a bank account, because that’s a scam, I know too well. My other job from a scammer on Craigslist involved wanting to know my bank account information, and I reported the guy in this scam. But my recent ad was answered by only one person who sounded normal. I’ll call him Scott.
Since I needed money for my car payment and phone bill, I posted a short ad that I would do office work should anyone need a temporary office worker, and my ad was short:
I have over ten years of experience doing various office positions, and have a background in counseling and social work. My office skills are current and I’ve recently been working office jobs as a temporary employee.
If you have an office type job that you need filled quickly on the East Side to help you for a short-term basis while I look for a permanent job, please contact me and I will send you my resume and/or talk with you by phone.
** I report scams, valid offers only.
I have to report that I do report scams. Everybody should. But my main point is that when you need a job for a short time only, post it on Craigslist, then learn the scams, what is said, how fast they pay and by what means. Otherwise you may get into a bad place, working some hours and then not getting paid. Anyway, this Scott, as I call him, seemed nice enough. I will find out tomorrow whether he pays up front like he says he will, and he offered to pay me in advance because I was trying to work until my other jobs starts back up. He felt kinda sorry for me is my guess. He said he was a Christian and I believe that he was legit. I never felt nervous or like he was a creepy guy. He never made improper statements, or joked coarsely, so I believe God has ordained it to happen; he offers me a short-term job to help him and me, both. Since he needed a driver to allow him to take care of other things, instead of doing the driving himself.
He is the owner of a delivery trucking company where he has other people working for him. They all seem nice and they work hard.
In his warehouse they unloaded the trucks into sorted areas of the different cities that items needed to be delivered to, then loaded them up into the trucks that were going on that route. Mine was to go to a series of cities in Washington state, but one night he needed someone to go up to Oregon to deliver the stacks of items they need every week night during the business week, meaning every Monday through Friday nights when we worked making deliveries. He asked me if I would deliver up to Pendleton, Oregon, to which I agreed. It wouldn’t be so bad, I thought. I would just take an hour longer to drive to it, then turn around and come back once I had dropped off the load of tied, Styrofoam, stacks of milk samples. I have no idea what they wanted them for, so it was some science testing place, maybe a government oversight committee’s idea. I don’t know. Why would cow milk need to be tested? Now I think it’s good to know what is in the milk that we drink, it’s just my guess what that was about. I didn’t see any cows, so I wonder what cow milk, or even goat milk, they may have wanted samples for?
I went up there and didn’t know where to unload the milk samples. He gave me the wrong address; it was a digit off, and my GPS was showing that I go to an electrical power company, so I didn’t know what they wanted the milk samples for. Something weird going on, I thought, so I waited for Scott to return my call, asking him where to deliver the samples.
And I waited… and waited… two-and-a-half hours went by before he called back. I had been lying on the front seat, curled up in a ball, asking God to please have Scott call me back, to which he did. Scott called me right then. So I could deliver the samples and be on my way after three hours in Pendleton, Oregon. I went back to the warehouse to drop off the rest of the load that was in my truck; the load where I had loaded up several boxes from my start location in Bellevue, Washington. They were heavy, and I needed the guy at the Auto show room to help me load seven of the larger, heavier boxes.
So I went back to the warehouse to drop off these boxes where they would be sorted and taken to their locations to be dropped off the following business day. I got them out of the truck, but it was then that my cell phone service was shut off because I hadn’t paid the bill, and I didn’t have directions to take two more packages to Ellensburg, WA, to drop off at another auto repair shop.
I was panicked. It was the middle of the night, and without phone service I would not be able to call my boss and ask him how to get to the store in Ellensburg. I remembered Ellensburg was on the freeway home, but I didn’t know where to pick up the freeway, which direction to go, and I drove a bit, for about 30 minutes, thinking I would go west which ultimately would be the direction I go to go home, where my van was parked.
I was wrong about knowing the direction to go, and turned around to come back. Then I couldn’t find the exact location where I had been at the warehouse, which I could get into, but the phone was locked up in the boss’s office. I had not way to reach him, the phone was not available. So I curled up in the truck for awhile, thinking it would be easier to find my way and an open store, after sunrise.
It was cold, and I remember thinking that I had the gas card, so could fill up once I found the right kind of gas station where I could use the gas card. He had given it to me since I would often need gas to put in the truck, since I was traveling several hundred miles during the night. I decided to run the engine to run the heater.
As the sun was getting ready to rise, I started out looking for anything open, and a gas station where I could ask directions would be best. I would buy a cup of coffee, and be cheerful, knowing this night would end soon and that cup of coffee would sure help. After about 20 minutes of driving around I found an open gas station where the lady at the counter was able to point me to the direction of the freeway going to Ellensburg. I was about an hour-and-a-half’s drive away. I got the cup of coffee and started out again. I needed gas, and though I knew there was a gas station in Ellensburg, I also drove through Prosser where they were having a balloon fair. It was a blast looking at a parasailer flying above me on the freeway, then finding a group of hot air balloons which were lifting up from the ground at the Prosser Balloon Rally. I had to get gas, so stopped at Prosser, at Love’s gas station and truck stop.
At Love’s, I had to fill the tank and I was not certain that this Love’s would take the credit card. Scott had mentioned that not all gas stations could take the car, but I did not know what that meant; either the gas stations were all Love’s, or there were certain Loves’ we could use the credit card for, or there were only certain gas station companies where we could use the corporate credit card. Since I was not sure, I tried to get the gas prepaid so I would know I could pay for it. I did not want to be stuck with a full tank of gas, unable to pay for it. So the guy at the counter told me to pull the truck around to the side where the big-rigs get their gas. At the pump, the gas kept splashing rapidly into the smaller truck tank, so only would add about five cents of gas at a time, then the gas pump would stop pumping gas. After several tries, I had to drive the truck over to the other side again, and after going inside and out of the gas station about six times, I finally got the gas tank full and began driving again.
After about an hour of driving near Yakima toward Ellensburg where I had to deliver the two items, the truck started to automatically slow down. Lights came on on the front panel, and I lost power, so I had to drive really slow all of a sudden. I drove about 10 minutes on the shoulder of the freeway with my flashers on. Then I pulled over on the freeway, and stopped. I was afraid I would damage the truck’s engine if I kept driving. Once I found the owner’s manual, I identified the problem as the truck needed DEF fluid, and I started out on the freeway again, this time going no faster than about 15 mph, staying on the shoulder, my lights flashing. I prayed for a patrol officer, and lo and behold, right then up ahead I saw the flashing lights of a highway patrolman stopped on the side of the freeway. I drove my truck slowly up the grade, and was able to park behind him. I noticed it was a K-9 unit.
He walked up to my passenger door which I opened for him, and he said “what can I do for ya? Are you broken down?” He had his sunglasses on and looked like a kind man. I told him I could drive still, but very slow. He reasoned that I should keep driving the 14 miles to Ellensburg and go to a gas station right off the freeway there, and I was able to go all the way without breaking down, completely. He said he would watch in case I broke down.
At the gas station, I called Scott using the manager’s phone, who told me to go to the gas station down the road and use the company credit card and buy the DEF fluid. It was my first experience with DEF fluid, not knowing what it was, and I still don’t know what it was for.
I was able to get the DEF fluid and drop off the packages at the auto repair shop, then went back on my way to go on the freeway, driving the speed limit, knowing I would get home all in one piece. I was worried I might not know how to get to where my van was parked, at a Bellevue car dealership where I would park the truck in their parking lot for the night. I would pick it up again the next time I had to drive it to make deliveries again. I struggled, stopped at a storage rental company, and the guy behind the counter gave me direction. I then had to park the truck in the back parking lot where I would leave it, get to my van, and figure out how to get to Kirkland from Bellevue. I was lost, and drained. It had been 20 hours since I first picked up the truck and then drove up to start my delivery job. Wasted and exhausted doesn’t describe my state of mind.
It was a road trip I’ll never forget.