Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Jobless in Tulsa

A recent letter from Marshall Stapp from Oklahoma City painted an agonizing scene of shock at Tulsa-based Arrow Trucking as the word was given to cease operations.

Stapp was a driver and trainer for Arrow. He witnessed the collapse.

Several days before Christmas, he was at the Flying J in Tulsa, headed to pick up a load in Laredo. He tried to fuel up but his fuel card was inactive. The fuel desk told Stapp the Arrow computers were down.

At first, it made no sense. “I asked, how can that be?” he wrote to OOIDA in an account of that day. “How am I going to get this load?”

Stapp called his driver-manager to let her know of the situation. He described her as “upset,” telling him to wait there. After three hours, Stapp called his customer to see if the load had canceled. They said no. Soon, he got a call from his DM and she told him to bring the trailer and tractor back to the yard. Stapp was incredulous. He asked her “is something wrong? Am I fired?” She said no, just come back to the terminal.

When he got back to the terminal, he saw people scattered, talking. It was Tuesday morning.

“I proceeded to the safety and log personnel, everyone was taking things off the wall and packing things in little boxes. I asked driver-trainer manager what was going on? She said ‘not so good.’ ”

Stapp was told “whatever you’re thinking, triple it and it’s true. OMG, I told her, you mean …? And she said yes.”

Stapp spent the night in his truck. The next morning he was parked at the QuikTrip off of I-44 and as he got out to buy coffee, he saw Arrow trucks being towed into a gate just west of the QT. Stapp was shocked.

He drove over to the terminal and was even more surprised to see tow trucks hooking up one after another. Stapp tells he had little money and no paycheck for the last week he worked.

“It was a nightmare. The television crew across the street, people crying and hugging – I went to my truck and got my things out before they came and towed mine.”

As he says in his poignant letter describing the last day – the scene was something he will never forget.