Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Vagrancy

Day two in Seattle. So, as a quick refresher- we spent the night in a hotel and got screwed on breakfast and now we were trying to find a way to get to a local church. See, Josh and myself had spent a large amount of time trying to find a place to stay while stranded in Seattle. We had some really unique ideas...

1. Camping (church or campgrounds)
2. Renting a car/seeing sights/sleeping in it
3. Renting a U-Store-It box and living out of it
4. Police stations (in a jail cell)
5. Making friends fast and loafing
6. Hitting up hotels and suing UPS for the cost.

So, we decided to focus on option 1 presuming Churches would be the most cost effective option. Let me tell you though, you'd be surprised with the number of churches unwilling to help out two young men stranded 3500 miles away from home. We had to call 7 churches to finally find one willing to help us in any way. Truly a sad day we live in that even churches need to be cautious about who they help, no?

Issue arose though, as it did the day before during our first attempt, as to how we'd get across the interstate to reach the church four miles away. Luckily, the people at the hotel offered us a free ride in their van so I suppose we'll call it even after their outrageous prices and non-free breakfast? Sure.

When we arrived at the church, which is actually named "The Church by the Side of the Road", we met a kind man named Al, who is the director of some sorts over the church. We exchanged a few words and he gave us a log of meat. Pretty cool eh? I spent a large portion of the day afterwards talking to various UPS employees, most of which weren't interesting in helping me at all. How very sad. But let me tell you, I did meet three very helpful employees, so much so they deserve eternal internet praise. Lets begin with the two guys I actually met in person.

When I first arrived at the UPS store the first day I met the man behind the counter, a guy named Stephen. He seemed real level headed and seemed like your typical hard worker. I first came to him with nothing- no tracking number, not a single thing but my story, a boy lost in Seattle with no bike. Honestly, I kinda got the "alright, I've heard every story in the book before" vibe and the "I'm just the guy behind the counter" line and figured I wasn't going to get much help until I brought him some form of tracking number to work with. Well, I stole some wifi and got him the tracking number his demeanor changed completely. He was genuinely concerned, and perhaps he hadn't heard every story in the book, eh? He started digging deeper, working to discover what fatal flaw and damned my package to be sent in circles never to arrive at Seattle. Stephen was really one of the first UPS employees that I dealt with and I could tell he really placed himself in my shoes. He honestly seemed quite worried for my general safety and security. Frankly, it was quite touching. Thank you Stephen.

Anyway, Stephen seemed baffled. You see, my package was being sent in this loop. The bike was shipped from Syracuse and would go to Chicago. From Chicago the box would depart, and just appear without any form of explanation in New Jersey I believe and before you know it, guess what? Yep, my package was back in Syracuse. Then Chicago. Then NJ... and you get the idea. So Stephen called down one of the supervisor, Leroy, to help decipher the problem. Now see Leroy, he's a straight shooter. He's gunna give it to you how it is, and I loved it. And honestly- he had no damn idea what was going on. No one did! Now, that doesn't mean no one was trying, I kept in contact with Leroy and Stephen usually numerous times a day. Even if no news had come up, they'd call just to let me know they were still in the dark. Top notch guys really, I fear little to nothing would had gotten done without them

Photo of Leroy and Stephen coming asap!


With my downtime, I'd usually call the UPS customer service number and complain and try to get free hotel rooms out of the ordeal. Of course I failed, but my consistant attempts did bring me across another very helpful person, a lady by the name of Lisa. Now, let me explain UPS customer service to you. They make NO files. They don't retain any information on your case, complaint, trackings etc. Every time I called I had to re-explain every little detail which would get tedious, obviously. I can't begin to explain how many customer service and corporate reps blew me off completely. But not Lisa. Much like the two other guys, she treated me like a human. Indeed rare for a company who apparently sees little more than a tracking number and a bill stamped to your head. At first I was questionable- see Lisa listened to my story and seemed genuine, but that's not what raised my suspicion. She said she'd call me back.. a strategy every hotline rep utilized but none backed up. And she did call me back. Quickly too. On numerous occasions no less.

Same deal Lisa- you send me a picture and I'll put it up here.

Anyway, I had my 3 out of 50 employees who were actually doing something. Sadly though I was pretty much where we left with no answers or options for the second day. By the time I finished with everyone it was already 4 o'clock. The church let us store our baggage inside their doors, so in order to camp out at night we'd have to be there by 7. So, we decided to call it an early night and set up camp on a small patch of grass off to the side of the parking lot. Luckily, we had neighbors! Two other men had permanently parked their vans there and we had ourselves are own little vagrant camp!

1 comment:

oliviarae said...

I am loving this adventure of yours already cousin!

--Olivia