I live in Moab, full time at Base Camp Adventure Lodge on the west side of Hurrah out by the Wind Caves or Catacomb Rock. Before this I was President of a company called Let’s Play Sports and we own a bunch of indoor soccer facilities spread around the country. I love Moab and the lodge but I confess that one of the things I miss was taking soccer equipment to UPS for shipment to our facilities, and all because of a guy named Darrell.
A couple times each year the indoor facilities need bibs, shin guards, balls, gloves………and so forth. We have a contact in Pakistan that makes the stuff for us as we need it at a pretty incredible price. It gets shipped from Pakistan to San Diego where it goes through Customs. Because we have limited storage at the office we try and get it in and then right back out the door to the facilities.
The first time I met Darrell I had a large shipment. 36 boxes needed to go out to the facilities. There was a guy walking around like he knew what was going on and had a couple people with him. I couldn’t hear all of the conversation with his customers but by watching the actions of the other UPS employees, body language, rolling their eyes, and so forth whenever he was near, I knew he was “different”. When he walked by me I heard one UPS employee say to the other “How have you survived all these years with him?”
He walks over to me and looks at a box being shipped to Utah Indoor Soccer and says “Make sure you tape that up good so it doesn’t break.”
I say “It’s soccer stuff.”
He says “No, it’s a computer.”
I say “When that box came to our building it had a computer in it but after the computer was taken out I filled it with soccer stuff. I’m just using the box over.”
He says "But the box still says it's a computer."
I say "That's because nobody has invented a box that automatically senses what's inside it and changes the outside packaging by itself."
He says "Somebody ought to get on it."
Then he says "Hey that box has a Fed Ex label on it. Get rid of it."
I say "I magic markered over it."
He says "That's our competitor. You shouldn't bring a Fed Ex box in here."
I say "It's that invention problem again."
He says "Let me go make a phone call." and then he disappeared into the warehouse.
A lady working at UPS comes over and says "How are you doing?"
I say "I'm kicking butt."
She says "Well if you're taking names, his is Darrell and he needs his butt kicked."
When I return to our office, I’m talking to Gaylen in Salt Lake and I mention my UPS experience earlier in the day and Gaylen says “Darrell is just missing his other brothers Darrell and Larry.”
A week or so later Rocky Mountain ordered some new phones, but the phone company shipped them to us in San Diego instead of to the facility in Denver. I got to make another trip to UPS and reship them to Rocky Mountain.
When I walked in the lobby at UPS there was one lady standing by herself, holding a box. Nobody else was present. I asked her how long she'd been there and she said about ten minutes and hadn't seen anybody. I did the label for Rocky Mountain and got in line behind her.
Finally the doors to the warehouse open and it's Darrell. He looks at me and says "You having a good Turkey day?" I say "Thanksgiving is tomorrow." and Darrell turns around and goes back in the warehouse.
After a couple minutes have gone by, the warehouse doors open. Darrell says "You need something?" The lady in front of me says "I'd like to ship this package to my daughter." Darrell says "That's what we do." Then turns around and disappears back into the warehouse.
I tell the lady in front of me, “I'll go get a turkey since it looks like we'll be spending Thanksgiving in the lobby of UPS.”
The warehouse doors swing open. Darrell emerges and says "You still here?" I say "There's nobody to wait on us. We've been here about 20 minutes now and seen you three times but nobody is at the counter. He says "Virginia went home early and Shelley doesn't come in until 11am. I look up at the clock, it's 10:40. Twenty minutes to go until Shelley gets here.
I say "Darrell, you've been here a long time, do you know how to work the scales and cash register?" He says "Not yet."
Shelley pulls up on her bicycle, 18 minutes early and walks her bike into the warehouse, comes back and starts ringing up the lady in front of me. Darrell comes over and says to me "You better make sure you tape that box up good so your phones don't get broken." I look down at the box and son of a bitch, Darrell is right. All I did was reseal the box the Qwest phones came in and re-label it for Rocky Mountain, so, they’re still in the same box and properly labeled. I said "Good idea." Darrell was happy.
DARRELL AGAIN: Ten days later, eight facilities had responded to my email as to if there was any additional equipment they needed. I loaded up the boxes and headed off to UPS.
What a difference a week makes. UPS added three stations to the three they had already. The parking lot was packed and the line was long for the Christmas holidays. Behind station #4, taping boxes, weighing, and working the computer cash register, was Darrell.
As I started getting closer to the front of the line I silently prayed. "Please Lord, don't let me get Darrell." Then the call rang out "Next".
Darrell who looks to be around 40 said "Can I help you young man?"
I said "Eight boxes to ship, all by ground. Here's my ID."
Darrell said "How would you like to ship these?"
I said "By ground."
Darrell said "I'll need to see your ID."
Darrell said "You shipping toilet paper clear across the country? To me, toilet paper is toilet paper. They ain't got any in Denver?"
I said "It ain't toilet paper, that's just what it says on the box. Inside is soccer balls and stuff."
Darrell said "That's not what it says on the box."
I said "I know. It's a long story. It shouldn't be, but it's working out that way."
Darrell said "How would you like to ship this?"
I said "By ground."
Darrell reaches over and grabs the box labeled Rocky Mountain and says "I got bad vibes about this one. You sure you want to ship it?"
I said "If it's got bad vibes, don't you think it's best to get it out of town and send it somewhere else?"
Darrell said "I like the way you think. How would you like to ship this?"
I said "By ground. All of them by ground."
Darrell picks up the OKC box and says "Oklahoma. Isn't that where they had that hurricane?"
I said "Tornado."
Darrell said "Yea, that's it. How would you like to ship this?"
I said "By ground."
Darrell picks up the Utah box and says "Utah, that's where they got all them wives ain't it?"
I said "By ground."
After Darrell punched in the price for the last box, he hit the total button, the computer made a bunch of noises and went blank. Darrell said "Dang. Beth can you come over here and help me with this thing, it wants me to log back in." Beth said "I'll be right there Jerry."
I said "Jerry? I thought your name was Darrell?"
Darrell said "That's my brother's name. That's just what they call me."
I said "Why?"
He said "I don't know."
DARRELL FIRST SHIPMENT: Darrell once told me he didn’t know why everybody called him Darrell, but if you’re familiar with the Bob Newhart show of long ago, you know why they call him Darrell.
When I’ve got 18 decent size boxes full of soccer balls, shin guards, gloves….. to ship to the facilities, I print labels until nobody is in the lobby so everybody doesn't have to wait in the UPS line for me. Once the last person leaves I move all my boxes to the counter. About ten boxes into labeling, Mary's computer crashed and immediately after, three more people walked in and got in line. Mary said "I just push this button and it takes about ten minutes to reset itself after you've pushed it. You ok on time?" I said "I'm fine."
Mary and I exchanged pleasantries and then Mary said "I'm sorry for the delay folks, just another minute or two. What a day. I don't know what else could go wrong?" I heard the warehouse doors swing open behind me and by the look on Mary's face, I didn't even have to turn around, I knew what else could go wrong.
Larger than life, Darrell came strolling into the lobby, saw me, and said "Well hello there young man. What can I help you with today?" I said "Mary's computer broke down and we're just waiting for it to come online." Darrell began walking towards us and I heard Mary say "Oh Jesus, please no." Darrell said "All you gots to do is press this button." and he pressed the button. Mary said "Darrell, I already pushed the button and now the whole ten minutes starts over again. Darrel said "This button, you pressed this button?" and he pressed it again.
I said "Darrell can you come here for a second. I got a whole bunch of soccer balls in this box with no air in them and I was wondering what you thought about that?" Darrell said "You want my opinion?" I said "No, I'm trying to lure you away from the computer so you don't push the button again." He said "Ahhh, that's a funny one. I like ya son. I really do."
DARRELL SECOND SHIPMENT: There were no dollies available for customers, as they were all in use for the trucks pulling out, so it took a little longer than normal to unload my shipment from the truck. As the boxes began piling up in the UPS lobby I could tell none of the employees were excited about doing my shipment.
Darrell walked by a few times while I was unloading. He had two guys following him around and I heard him say "I've never seen so many lazy people in one place as in this building."
I got the last box inside and got all the labels on. I looked over at the one register that was open and said to the lady working behind it "Whenever you're ready. I like to make sure that nobody else is here before tying you up for half an hour." She said "It won't be me. I'm going on break. It will be that register over there." I said "No problem. Whoever, whenever."
The warehouse doors flew open and whoever/whenever came walking thru. Darrell said "Good morning young man, how can I help you?" I said "Darrell, I got 26 boxes here ready to go." He said "My name is Jerry. They just call me Darrell, because, they just do."
I said "Jerry, I got 26 boxes, ready to go." Darrell said "I'm your man. Let's do this thang." Then he gave me a little wink and said "Batter up. Put that first baby right here on the counter." I said "Jerry, how would you like them? By location if I have three or four going to the same facility, or by size of the box, so you only have to measure size changes? They are ready to go and I will give them to you with label facing you." Darrell/Jerry said "Son, you pitch em. I want you to give me your best stuff and I'll hit em out of the park." I put the first one on the counter and Darrell said "Son, that all you got? I said "No Jerry, I got 25 more." Darrell said "Now we're talking son. Now we're talking. I like you son. I like the way you think. I really do."
Another UPS guy came walking over to Darrell and said "Hey Jer, about 4pm Sunday, did the lights go out at your house?" Darrell said "No, why, what happen? Did they go out at your house?" The UPS guy said "I just assumed with the way the Chargers spanked the Raiders you probably turned the lights out so nobody would think you were home." Darrell's voice rose up and he said "You got to come to our house. This thang ain't over. You ain't been to the house of pain yet. You gonna feel the pain and the thang. It ain't over. You be crying. You be crying so hard. I hear you crying. I got your napkin. You cry in your napkin. It be hard. I feel bad. The pain is coming and the thang ain't over." Then Darrell came out behind the register and started backward moon walking across the lobby.
Couple more employees came out and started giving Darrell grief about the Raiders/Chargers game and he didn't back down. They were crying laughing at him while he kept talking the smack.
I give Darrell credit. He did 26 boxes in 18 minutes. Way faster than anybody else had done and he was getting and giving smack the whole time. They were just abusing him and he was in his own little world fighting back.
After the last box was processed, Darrell said "Ok my man, we done this thang and we done it right. Let me get you your receipt. I just hit this button and the magic happens." Darrell hit the button, it printed about two inches of receipt and then broke down. Darrell said "When we getting the new Casios?" Somebody said "Monday and they ain't gonna fix anything with new ones coming in." Darrell said "How much time you got?" I said "Not until Monday."
Darrell decided he was out of paper and that's what was wrong so he got another roll and stuck it in where the last one was. He had to force the lid closed. Darrell tried to print out the receipt three more times and every time it got jammed in the machine. Finally the lady that was on break came back into the lobby, walked over to Darrell's machine, opened up the paper compartment and said "Darrell, you got to take the old roll out when you put in a new roll. You can't just stick em on top of each other." Darrell said "It's always something with these thangs." Darrell printed out the 15 foot long receipt and handed it to me. As I was leaving Darrell said "You threw spirals son. All spirals, all day. I like you. I really do." Then he winked at me and I was gone.
MERRY CHRISTMAS DARRELL: When I pulled into UPS there were only two cars in the customer lot. I walked inside and told the clerk I had 22 boxes and with only two people in line, was now a good time. She said “22 boxes is never a good time.” I said “Is Darrell here? He’ll do em.” She said “You want Jerry to do your order? You’re requesting Jerry?” I said “I am.” She said “History. I’ll go get him.”
The warehouse doors swung open and Darrell came strolling into the lobby and said “Son, you wanted to see me?” I said “Jerry, I got 22 boxes and they got your name on em.” He said “They sure do son, I’m your man. You know you got it right. You don’t want no ladies doing this. You come here, you got a big job, you want it done right, no screw ups, you got to ask for Jerry. You made the smart decision son.” I said “I know Jerry. I’m going to go out to the truck and start unloading. I can usually get three boxes on the dolly so it’s going to take me a few minutes.”
By the time I got to the truck Darrell came wheeling around the corner of the building with a big flat push cart that I could get about ten boxes on and moments later he showed up with another one. Darrell said “If you want to get it done right, you got to ask for Jerry.”
As I pushed the first cart up to Darrell’s register five more cars pulled up in the parking lot and as I was pushing the second one in, five more. I set the first box on Darrell’s register and Darrell said “Son, you gonna give me the best stuff right? They all labeled, in order, and by box size?” I said “Jerry, you know they are. It’s home run derby at the All-Star game and I’m going to give you the biggest, fattest, pitches you ever seen in your life, letter high, and Jerry, me, me and you, we’re going to put on a show for all them folks standing in the other line.” Darrell stepped out from behind his register, did a couple little stretching exercises and said “Folks, no need to get behind the screen, they all gonna be leaving the yard.”
Darrell blew through those packages and the register struggled to keep up (apparently the Casios aren’t there yet). As each box went across the scales and Darrell took the tape measure to them, he’d make a comment as he pushed it off the scale, on to the conveyer belt and out of sight, and that’s how it went for 15 minutes. “It’s out of here.” “That one’s in the ocean, little fishes been looking for it.” “Rolling around on Waverly.” “Green Monster my butt.” Mile High is right.” When I put the last two boxes up on the counter top, Darrell said “Son, is that all we got left?” I said “It is Jerry. I hope they go deep.” Darrell said “They’ll go deep son. The Babe’s gonna look up at these two and he’ll feel the pain son, he’ll feel the pain. They gonna do that orbit thang.”
When the last two boxes were on the conveyer belt Darrell said “Son all we do now is hit this here button and I’ll have the grand total for you. I know we won son, I know we did.” The register sputtered a little and then shut down. Darrell popped the paper compartment open and said “We’re out of paper.” He grabbed another roll and I said “Jerry, don’t forget to take the empty roll out.” He said “Thanks son. Thanks. You know your stuff. You really do.”
Darrell took the old roll out and put the new one in, it printed out the receipt and he handed it to me. I said “You done good Jerry. I’m glad I asked for you. You hit nothing but homers. I bet they never seen 22 homers on 22 pitches.” Darrell said “Son, it was your pitching. With you pitching and me hitting they don’t make no park big enough to keep the ball in. I appreciate you asking for me. I like ya son. I really do.”
I said “I know Jerry. I like you too…. Merry Christmas my friend.” Darrell said “Merry Christmas to you son and I hope all your dreams come true.”
As I walked out the door into the parking lot I heard Darrell cry out “Batter up. Who’s next? You better have good stuff cause Clemens was just here and I ain’t taking no crap pitches from no rookies...