The Gutsy Driver

Never leave a driver out of sight, you never know how trusting they can be. Practicing proper receiving delivery techniques can prevent unnecessary events. The following is a story of one driver’s dishonesty.

The Basement

In our restaurant there were two areas in which we received deliveries; the main floor of the restaurant and the basement storage which was located near the mall’s receiving docks. Due to our limited space in the restaurant, a significant portion of our deliveries were placed in the basement. The storage room was a locked room which consisted of a bar (beer & wine) cage, several coolers and freezers and an additional locked cage filled with extra china, equipment and tools. Everything in the room that could be opened had a lock.

Access to the basement storage was given to all cooks, bar staff and assigned helpers. Again, because of the limited space, frequent trips would be made to the basement to retrieve food, ice and firewood for our wood burning pizza oven. To restrict access to the storage room, keys were only given to management. In addition, anyone needing to access the basement storage had to notify a manager or supervisor. However, the bar cage was only given access to the bar manager and her team. For an extra security measure, the restaurant installed security cameras which were located on both the main floor and within the basement storage. A live feed to our backend office of the restaurant could be monitored at any time.

Monday Delivery

Mondays, we receive our regular delivery of packaging and takeout supplies. The order was always dropped and inspected inside the basement storage. Unless you were a new driver, you knew the procedure. Once the driver’s truck was parked at the receiving dock, the driver would go to the main floor to notify one of the managers of the delivery. Most of the drivers were used to it and realized at times, they would be required to wait 5-10 minutes until one of the managers or assistants could receive the products. It was a first come first serve basis, so each supplier that arrived would be inspected in that order.

Tim was one of our main restaurant helpers. When a manager was in a bind, Tim would scurry down to the basement and meet the driver. Tim was the nice guy that everyone knew and who formed a relationship with all the drivers. Although he was challenged and struggled at times, he knew how to do certain jobs well and one of them was inspecting the delivery of packaging and storing them in their proper places. This particular Monday, things were different.

Quick Hands

Bob was a fairly a new driver. He was different than the other drivers; impatient and acted like a big tough guy. However, like all the other drivers, he quickly formed a bond with Tim. On this Monday, Tim did his usually trip to the basement to receive the 30 plus boxes of packaging supplies, but what was about to happened was never ever expected.

Going through the purchase order and using his fingers as a guide to scroll down the list, Tim checked the boxes off one by one. Two cases of napkins, three boxes of clamshells, 4 cases of medium size coffee cups and the list went on. Fidgeting at the corner of the room was Bob standing impatiently as usual. As he waited for Tim, his eyes moved back and forth carefully scanning the room. There in the front left corner was the bar cage with the sliding door shut. Peering towards the cage, Bob was in luck. The padlock was through the loop but was dangling and unlocked.

“Oh Tim, I see you don’t have a pen to sign the invoice. I actually don’t have one either,” said Bob with a grin.

“Um, I will be back. I will go to my locker and get one for you, Ok?

Not knowing what he did was wrong, Tim casually walked out of the room to the staff change rooms located down the hallway. In the room was Bob all alone. This time standing patiently Bob waited as Tim was completely out of sight. Bob quickly hopped outside the door and went around the corner ensuring Tim was gone and there were no other bystanders nearby.

Dashing back into the storage room, Bob released the padlock from the loop hole and entered the bar cage. Without any hesitation, he swiped the first bottle he could see; a Cabernet Sauvignon. Placing it in his bulky jacket, he zipped it up and closed the cage door behind him leaving it perfectly as it appeared before. A minute later, Tim returned.

“Here you go, I got a pen.”

“Great! Sign here and we are all done,” said Bob with a big smile.

Tim went about his usual duties and organized the boxes still without a clue of what just happened.

Inventory Count

11:30AM, our bar manager had arrived. While checking the current bar inventory and reviewing the closing inventory from the night before, something peculiar was wrong with the counts. She checked it again and the counts were off; exactly one Cabernet missing. Was it possible the counts were manipulated? We ruled out all the possibilities.

Then suddenly, for some odd reason, I had a terrible gut feeling. It all made sense as we pieced the puzzle together. We checked the cameras and pressed replay to the time Bob arrived with the delivery. There it was at 9:10AM, Bob bravely stole a bottle of wine from the bar cage. We were in disbelief shocked that it happened during regular operating hours.

What did we do?

We spoke to Tim and replayed the video capturing Bob in action. We made sure that Tim understood that what he did was a mistake but at the same time we wanted to let him know we would forgive him. How could we let him go, since it wasn’t necessarily fair to completely blame the guy for being nice and trying to do his job? Plus the bar cage was unlocked.

So who was to blame? This time it was, only us, the management to blame. We just assumed that Tim would know never to leave a driver alone. We also never believed that one of our drivers would stoop down so low to take advantage of Tim’s disabilities. We also made the mistake of not double checking if the bar cage was locked. The last person to enter the cage just happened to be the general manager.

At the end, we contacted our supplier to report Bob. We spoke to the owner and sent a copy of the video tape capturing the incident. Surprisingly, the company allowed Bob to continue with his job. Although we refused to accept any deliveries from Bob, the company disregarded our requests. From that day onwards, a manager oversaw all deliveries to the basement storage.

This could have happened to anybody. Unfortunately it happened to Tim.

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