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    "Forklift stories:"

    December 06, 2007 by Mike Strawbridge

    Here is a great story submitted by Matt Gibson:

    Don't know if this fits what you're looking for - but it does involve a forklift and material handling.....and poop. Yep, poop.
    As some know, I produce events for a living - pretty big ones at that. The big dawg opening ceremonies for the 70-events-in-two-weeks festival that I work for that celebrates the Kentucky Derby, attracts almost 800,000 people for a one-day fireworks show and all day air show. 

    As there isn't a venue in Kentucky (or anywhere for that matter) that can accommodate that type of crowd - we have to build it. That includes everything from generated power to run the couple hundred booths and concession stands - to providing ample places for everyone to go to the bathroom. 

    As you can imagine, it takes ALOT of port-a-johns to support that many people. So many in fact we have to bring them in from 3 states! The worst thing about this being a one day event is that on a "good weather year" where the crowd gets there very early, these bad boys reach "capacity" by early evening (you can use your imagine to figure it out).

    Well - we had spectacular weather this particular year and after the event when we've completely put downtown back together as if the event never happened, the waste management company kept telling us that we were missing a single PJ unit. How the hell are we missing a PJ unit I ask myself? We've lost a lot of equipment, had things stolen, destroyed things, etc - but never a PJ - who would want one of those things?

    We knew their numbers weren't off because we audit all the various services and equipment that show on the venue and our numbers matched prior to the show - we all wrote it off to bad removal accounting and moved on...

    Fast forward 8 or so *hot* days. Using a portion of the same venue as the fireworks/air show, we build a 9 day big rockin' stage + beer garden that sees roughly 10k people a day. 

    Towards the end of the Festival, I was sitting on my mobile people watcher- aka: golf cart, when a lovely young mother came rushing up to me carrying her daughter in a frantic state. This woman had a mixture of concern/disgust/revolt, etc on her face and I immediately popped into my whatever-this-lady-tells-me-I-need-to-get-it-fixed mode - little did I know.

    She proceeds to explain to me that she brought her family down to play in the funpark inflatables/jumpies/rockwall section of our venue and when they were eating earlier they saw what looked to be a "well kept secret port-a-john" tucked way behind a HUGE outdoor sculpture in the park - no lines or anything!

    Well you guessed it - she found the missing PJ! Upon hearing this I ran to get my trusty forklift that we use for everything on our venues - in the meantime some of my team worked their way over there to keep anyone else from using the PJ cuz we were swamped.

    I've moved hundreds of PJ's so this wasn't going to take but a few minutes. Hell - the longest element should be just getting the forklift over to that end of the venue...

    I pull up and the look on my co-workers face seemed to match that of the woman when she originally approached me. At that point I wasn't sure why. Instead of getting down and assessing the situation, I went ahead and lowered the forks, pulled up to the PJ's door and proceeded to lift and tilt (only so slightly as I knew this thing could be full) - again, little did I know.

    As I put it in reverse I must have stirred Beelzebub, Lucifer - Satan himself. As you can imagine after not only "supporting" it's portion of an 800,000 person event, then sitting quietly for 9 days in the hot sun before being disturbed by my forklift 

    I honestly believe this thing had formed a "skin" if you will. When I moved it - all hell broke loose and the most unimaginable, horrid odor with legs came forth. The people around at the time scattered and I thought I could take it - that lasted for all of 1.4 seconds.

     I bolted off of the forklift, weak kneed, gagging and sputtering - which caused the safety seat to kill the ignition. Anyone who has driven one knows that when you break the connection on the safety seat, it doesn't come to a "smooth" stop - it jerks, pretty violently I might add. "Spillage" was now the key word and when I say this industrial waste smell had legs - I mean it - it was running yards away from this PJ and effecting 10's of people of people at a time. People I might add that had settled in for corndogs, elephant ears, huge ice cream sundae's, etc - they were all abandoning their goods trying to get clean air. The worst part? No not quite yet. I had to get *back* on the forklift and finish what I started taking this thing on a long meandering ride throughout the venue! I'm telling you, I've got a pretty strong stomach and have smelled some bad things in my life - but this kept bringing me to tears - gagging, wrenching, red-eyed tears. I couldn't go 8-10 feet without retching and jumping off the moving forklift - at which time - as you guessed - it would jerk around and shake that thing up like a whipped poopie smoothie.

    AT LEAST 45 minutes later, once my crew had completely abandoned me I finally got this thing back into the service compound on the venue. I left the forklift where it sat - attached to the PJ and ran as far as I could to get clean air. 

    When I called the waste management company they informed me they'd come out ASAP to get this thing. When they showed up - this is no embellishment - the "techs" SUITED UP in hazmat like outfits and hoods so that they could address it properly! They said, if I remember correctly, that as a result of the hazardous type material, this unit would now be taken out of service! How bad does a poopie receptacle have to be to be taken out of service? I think I have a pretty good idea....

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