NOTE: I’m just kidding OSHA. No need to come investigate me. I keep a set of steel-toed boots, jeans and a hard hat in my trunk in the event that I’ll have to do something non-office-y (that’s a word, right?) in the course of my day. I put them on every time. Yup. Every. Time.
Anyway, now that we’ve agreed that I always observe all forklift safety regulations and totally ruined my super awesome blog title in the process, I shall continue my story…
We install all manner of commercial HVAC units, so we get a lot of stuff delivered by tractor trailer truck that has to be offloaded with a forklift. We’re a small office with just a few of Estimators, Service Manager and the rest of the office staff, who all happen to be female. It regularly happens that there is no one here but us HVAC chicks. So it became obvious early on that I was going to have to learn to be a forklift driver. And not just me. A few of my fellow office ladies over the years have also been certified. We are tough HVAC chicks, after all.
Speaking of tough chicks, way back when the business first started, it was just my Dad, who was always on the road, and my Mom who handled all things not field-related, including the off-loading of massive HVAC units WITHOUT the assistance of a forklift. I’m not sure exactly how she did it. Some combination of sassy female charm and the powers of telekinesis, maybe? I do remember hearing a story about a tennis shoe that met its death as a result of a wayward HVAC unit. Mom kept all of her toes thankfully.
A female forklift driver can’t be THAT rare, but you wouldn’t be able to tell that from the looks on the truck driver’s faces when I come bounding down the stairs to take a delivery. At first the expression on their face reads incredulity, like “You know this is heavy right?” As if I might have been thinking that there are large crates of teddy bears in there. And then, I mention that I’m off to fire up the forklift and then I get back-to-back responses of, “Oh good, you have a forklift.” and “YOU’RE driving the forklift?!?” Umm…Yup. Then I get a good-natured shrug of acceptance and a sigh of relief that all they need to do is roll whatever it is to the edge of the truck.
After nearly 12 years, it still never gets old seeing the face of the truck driver as I hop up on the forklift to offload a rooftop unit.
Today it was a new driver. When I said I’d go get the forklift, he paused a beat then said, “Oh, OK. You look like a capable lady.” It made me smile. Thank you, Mr. Truck Driver. I would have to agree with you.