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A Way Out

It was a Monday morning, and the crews were receiving their assignments and preparing their trucks.

The two-man service crew was reviewing their workload, which included a first job, a scheduled customer meet, to upgrade a messenger service. Having just received word that their bucket truck was out of service, they wanted to cancel the job.

Since it was a scheduled job with the customer, they were told to see if they could do the job without the bucket. At that time, it was still not that uncommon to use a ladder to install the service to the messenger guy and then pull the service up to make the final connections at the pole. But they were not happy. Despite some reasoning and discussions, they continued to complain even as they left the yard.

This crew was made up of an experienced service mechanic – he was not a lineman but had many years in the department – and an apprentice lineman. The two of them were far from desirable, as far as consideration as potential crew members within their own ranks. Each had created their share of problems to influence this standing. Neither seemed to enjoy working in this chosen field but were unwilling to admit it and move on to something more suitable- if there was anything else that would be.

A while later, the supervisor headed out to the location to check on the progress. As he was driving up the street, there was a fire department ladder truck at the job site with the ladder extended out towards the pole. There were two firefighters climbing up towards the lineman, who was “slumped” down and sitting on the street light arm – well below the secondaries and not appearing too uncomfortable.

The other crew member was nowhere in sight. There had been no alert from the office about a problem – at that time, only the supervisor’s vehicles and a few trucks had radios. The supervisor had no idea about what was going on.

An ambulance arrived as the firefighters helped lineman down the ladder. As he was being placed in the ambulance, his partner came walking around the corner, looking none the worse considering the situation.

After exchanging information with the fire department and ambulance crew, the supervisor spoke with the mechanic about what had occurred and the lack of notification to the office. He explained that the lineman had just gotten above the lamp, belted in and then, slipped down onto the fixture; also, that he needed to find a phone. The notification alert, in the supervisor’s vehicle, went off as he was explaining.

The scene seemed a bit suspicious with a lot of questionable coincidences.

The lineman never returned to the field; the service mechanic continued on at his position – unchanged – for many years. And the job, was, of course, rescheduled.

Anonymous Lineman

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