The other day I was working at Rikku’s garage doing routine maintenance on one of her coaches, when her 15 yo daughter Jill rang me on her mobile to tell me the coach of the third party coach company her school hired had broken down:

Jill: Dad, I’m on my way to a rugby match with my school girls team, the coach has broken down on the motorway and the driver’s radio and phone aren’t working!

Me: Don’t worry sweetheart, put me on to the driver, I’ll have a chat with him. In the meantime, get the girls off the bus, and as far up the hard shoulder embankment as you can, away from the coach and traffic.

Talking to the driver, I told him I’d lend a hand and get one of our coaches to him, and tow his broken down one to our garage until the match finished, when I’d then arrange to take it, and him, back to his company’s yard. I got put back on to Jill and explained I’d use one of her mum’s coaches to help out. This is where things went wrong! We have a daily allocation list of vehicles that are in use for runs that day, and also any vehicles in for service. Our Mercedes Tourismo coach WASN’T on the list, so I got Rikky’s Recovery guys, their truck, and a driver for the replacement coach.

Anyhow, I got the team transferred on to our coach, and on route to Jill’s team match with one of our drivers, while me and the Recovery guys brought the other coach, and driver, back to our yard. Rikku was away on a transport meeting trying to secure a new contract. The other transport company’s coach had suffered differential failure, locking the drive axle. Me and the other driver bantered, sharing breakdown stories, until the Matsuki coach brought the girls’ team back, with Jill, who came running over to me, as her team surrounded us:

Jill: Thankyou SO much, SuperDad! You dropped everything for us, you’re my hero!

Me: Ah, hunny, what are Dads for?

Our coach took the girls back to school, and the Recovery guys took the other coach and driver back to his own yard. While they were all away, next thing I know, Rikku appears out of nowhere, fuming at me that the Tourismo was nowhere to be seen:

Rikku: Where’s the Tourismo?

Me: I rescued your daughter and her rugby team from a breakdown on the M62 using it, they’re on their way back to school with a driver. The Tourismo isn’t on the daily allocation list!

Rikku: I NEED it for a job in 30 minutes! If it isn’t on the list you still don’t just take it, you’re supposed to contact Operations! Just because you’re fleet service manager doesn’t stop that rule!

Me: Well I’m sorry for dropping everything for your daughter, doesn’t she come first? I think the job’s getting to you!

Rikku: Don’t start THIS again!

She ended up storming off, we exchanged words, me telling her to stop acting like a spoilt brat when her daughter was in need. She later apologized but it was so out of character it worried me, as we’re both like SuperMum and SuperDad where Jill’s concerned, Jill and Rikku are like best friends, doting on each other. I love them both so much, but these diva-like outbursts from Rikku are getting worrying, as she’s normally super-strong in terms of willpower!

She’s Operations Manager at Matsuki, she owns the whole business but is taking on too many roles at once, as she has to run the entire operation, dishing out daily roles to the different departments (Fleet, Admin and Customer Liason and Traffic Management), as well as allocating passengers to vehicles, allocating routes etc. We need two more managers!

I wouldn’t be surrogate Dad to anyone else, Jill is really grown up for 15, like her Mum (normally) is at 32!

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