Thursday, December 17, 2009

I REMEMBER...working for UHAUL

..working for UHAUL company and living in San Francisco, CA. and was the general manager of one of the largest truck rental centers on the west coast. The rental center was in the converted Planter's Peanut factory on Bayshore Blvd. It was one of the largest storage facilities in Northern California. There was a small one bedroom apartment for the manager above the front entrance. See the three windows - that was my living room. When my oldest son, Ian was born, the district manager had some of the storage units removed and added a second bedroom. Very cool. He learned to walk and drive his little walker up and down the hallways of the storage units on the second floor.

All in all, it was one of the best ways to live in San Francisco. The "commute" was riding the freight elevator down to the bottom floor. The view unfortunately was the Bayshore Fwy (Hwy 101). My vehicle was provided and all insurance and gas was paid for. The apartment was also provided for and so was health and life insurance. When Ian was born, all expenses were paid. I was required to wear a uniform daily and it was provided (kind of like being in the military). My paycheck was spent on food and dining out. There are an endless number of restaurants in San Francisco, so that you could dine out every night and you could never live long enough to visit them all.

Some of the U-HAUL stores had been robbed and I was fortunate enough to not have that experience. The closest I ever got to being robbed was one Sunday in August. I was working the store alone. Two rough looking guys came into the store wearing full length leather jackets - the cowboy kind that went all the way down to the floor. Did I mention it was August? It was hot and muggy and when I saw these guys come in, it popped into my mind they were hiding guns and were going to rob me. You just didn't dress that way to go rent a truck. Thank God for an imaginative mind and a backlog of police movies I had watched.

Just as these two characters walked up to the counter, I walked over to the mirrored glass behind the counter and knocked on the mirror and announced loudly. "Hey Larry, I just called the cops to come pick up those shotgun shells we found in storage. They should be here any minute".

There was no "Larry".
There were no shotgun shells.
There were no cops on the way.
In fact, I was the only one in the building, except for my family upstairs.

My prospective clients in the long leather coats turned and left, never saying a word. So, fortunately, I didn't have to find out the hard way why they were there that day. They probably just had overdue parking tickets and didn't want to risk the confrontation with the fictitious pending officers of the law. I had seen an episode of "Sky King" (early 50's TV show about a rancher that always caught the bad guys using his airplane "somehow". He also could "throw his voice" (ha) that would make the bad guys think there was someone outside. That was my inspiration for my "fool the bad guys" trick.

The only other time I had an inkling I was to be robbed was when I was a "manager in training" for U-HAUL at a smaller store in Redwood City in the early 1980's. I was working late one night, closing up the store by myself, when two bad looking dudes knocked on the glass door after we were closed, wanting me to open back up and let them turn a trailer in. There was no way I was going to do that and when they started cursing me, that clinched it...they were not going to be let in. I told them to come back the next day (when there was a full staff around). The next day dawns and I see them pull up in front of the store about 10am. I left the counter area and hid in the shadows of a box display, hoping they wouldn't recognize me. They finish their business, complaining about the guy who wouldn't let them check in the previous night, and left. The guy that waited on them comes running over and says, "Wow, did you see those championship rings? Those guys are with the World Champion San Francisco Niners. That was Eric Wright and Keena Turner". Can you say Pro Bowl / NFL Champions?

So, I guess I have a 50% success rate in recognizing bad guys.

"The Catch" 1982 Super Bowl bound San Francisco 49ers 58 sec. left on the clock..

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