I nearly died driving a Forklift

It was January 1997 when I learned about Forklifts, inclines, and gravity.

I was preparing to move my family to North Carolina and had to dispose of a bunch of stuff out of the house. One of these items was the old water heater. Rather than haul it to the landfill and pay the disposal fee, I decided to take it to one of the warehouses of the company I worked for, Lofts Seed.

I loaded the heater into the back of my little red step-side pickup truck and headed off to the warehouse.

It was bulky and heavy, but I was able to get it up and into the back of the truck by myself.

If was a Sunday and no one would be at the warehouse. I called the warehouse manager to get permission to throw the heater in the dumpster. He said no problem.

When I got to the warehouse I decided to use one of the forklifts to carry the heater out back to the dumpster.

The dumpster I wanted to put the heater into was out back, next to the forklift ramp that led out of the warehouse.

I headed through the warehouse to the back dock door with the heater on top of the forks. As I headed to the ramp I started raising the forks into the air so that they would be above the top edge of the dumpster.

As I headed down the ramp, raising the forks higher and higher into the air, I turned the forklift to the left towards the dumpster.

Can you see it yet, forks about 12 feet in the air, big heavy forklift moving downward, then sideways on an incline?

I’m not a physicist, but I quickly learned about inertia, gravity, incline, weight, motion and instant FEAR!!!

As the forks reached over the top of the dumpster the forklift began to fall over to the right, down the ramp. Fortunately for me, and my desire to continue living, the forks caught on the edge of the dumpster, with me and the forklift sitting at about a 45° angle to the ground.

I managed to hang onto the steering wheel, hook my feet on the clutch and brake pedals so that I did not fall off and possibly under the forklift.

The front drive wheels of the forklift were off the ground, so I did not have to worry about it moving, yet I still reached down and shut off the engine.

I sat there, hanging onto the steering wheel and roll bars as I pondered what to do next. Wisely (where did that come from), I decided to climb up on top (actually left side) of the forklift and jump off, up the ramp. I felt there was less danger than climbing off, under and down the ramp.

I stood there for a few minutes pondering what to do next. More wisdom arose in me, so I called the warehouse manager.

“Hey John, this is Teddy. I screwed up. I accidentally flipped one of your forklifts over down the ramp. I don’t think it’s hurt, but there is no way I can get it back up on its wheels. What should I do?”

There was no laughter in his voice as he told me to, “Go home. Leave it where alone and we’ll fix it on Monday.”

I apologized for the problem that I created and left.

About a week later I came by his warehouse for a meeting. We sat in his office discussing a project we were working on. The forklift story came up briefly. He told me that his guys had to get a tow truck to pull it backup upright. I offered to pay for the tow truck. He told me he’d get the cost out of me somehow. He did ask me to promise that I would never get on any company forklifts. I promised.

 

 

Boating Chaos # 3

This is the 3rd of 4 Boating incidents (as of now)

Boating Incident # 3 – The third time I participated in chaos in a boat was out on the Chesapeake Bay. Another group of friends and I decided that we would go fishing in the lower section of the bay. We left the marina in the wee early hours of the morning and had a good time fishing, joking and partaking of food and drink out on the bay.

At around 3:00pm the engine broke down. Something to do with a fuel pump or something.

We had a radio and after numerous attempts to find a service boat we were able to contact a marina service boat. He said he would be happy to come fix our boat after the thunderstorm that was heading our way.

Now this was unbelievable. We sat thru 60mph winds, rain, hail, thunder and lightning for well over two hours.

To make matters way worse, we ran out of beer and junk food before the storms started up.

Because of the winds we could not anchor the boat. We just spun and spun and spun around on the water.

SCARED – Not me. I was way to busy praying and pondering writing my wife my final love letter.

Well, as you can see we made it thru the storm. The service boat showed up at around 7:00pm, we got back to the marina at midnight and then back home before 3:00AM the next day.

Our wives were waiting up for us, less because of the fear of danger, and more because they were sure we were totally up to no good.

They developed some level of concern for our potential demise only after we convinced them of our story.

I learned two things from this experience.

1 – Know the cell phone number of the service boats

2 – Bring more beer

 

A Prayer for Courage

Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers,
But to be fearless in facing them.
Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain,
But for the heart to conquer it.
Let me not look for allies in life’s battlefield,
But to my own strength.
Let me not crave in anxious fear to be saved,
But hope for the patience to win my freedom.
Grant me that I may not be a coward,
feeling your mercy in my success alone,
But let me find the grasp of your hand in my failure.

— Rabindranath Tagore

Consider this . . what are you praying for?

Courtesy of Motivational Moments by Nigel Alston