Delivery with Rohan

Naiim joined us recently. So there are 3 chaps under my charge now. I decided to bring Rohan along with me for deliveries today for the first time, leaving the other two behind to carry on the manufacturing jobs schedule which I drew out for them.

Rohan has sobered up a lot lately. After our little outburst a couple of months back, he did come back for work after going missing for a week. To disappoint a nutcase reader, he didn't come back with a gun. Neither did he send a blade through my guts when I wasn't looking. He came back to work and apologised for what he did. I handled tearing ladies before, but not men. It was awkward. I had been taught that when a man puts his pride down, never step on it. I assured him he had a job to return to so long as he decided to be committed to it. I took the opportunity I never had before he went AWOL, to explain we needed everyone in the team to contribute because we were such a small company. I didn't have a problem with him. It was about the attitude and performance. He acknowledged.

He was a simple man. Forward talking, a little naive, almost child-like. I could see he has been plagued with so many forms of personal problems that it would take him a lot of determination to put these behind him. The problem was, he didn't know where to start. The bigger problem was, he didn't see problems as problems. Not that I had a problem with that. There are people who go around telling the others how to live life and I'm not one of those. I am well aware that my definition of a personal problem may be another person's perfect lifestyle. It is probably so, in this case.

Over the months, things picked up very slowly but gradually. These days, when I speak to Rohan, I saw his eyes sharp and alert. He displayed a lot of positive kinesics. He could have put off the drinking sessions to the weekends, or adopted a disciplined sleep regime, I did not know. Whatever it was, it seemed to work. He had been frequently late, but no longer than 10 minutes each time unlike the past. We chatted regularly during work and breaks. Usually he would update me his forthcoming intentions, such as getting his suspended driving licence back. That had been the talk since I joined this company but it was good to see he never let go of his short term goal.

He was happy to come along with me. "4 trips," I warned him. It was annoying, but we didn't have a choice. We could only push the vehicle that much over its loading limit, we didn't want to go without our only mode of delivery but screwing it up. He opted to come along with me, although that would see him miss his tea break. Along the way, we talked about work, joked about the boss and other trivialities. He told me his 30th birthday was on the coming Saturday and the last time someone celebrated it for him was when his mother organised a BBQ for him on his 21st. Finally the good were delivered in proper and we proceeded to the final location.

It was a company with a fancy French name. No matter, our task was to collect our stuff and go. All 1.3 tons of it. While waiting, Rohan was distracted by a chubby, middle aged man in a distance and kept staring at him. Before long, the man noticed both of us looking at him and gave us an uncomfortable smile. We fixed our gaze on him, observing his feeble attempts to mutilate a large wooden crate.

"This guy isn't working here, mate," I told Rohan.

"He sure isn't. You reckon we should give him a hand?"

I considered for a moment. The manager always warned us about insurance issues and tricky situations about getting injured due to non-work related activities. Before long, our goods were loaded neatly at the back of the ute by the experienced Scottish forkie. I took a glance at the chap in the distance. He was joined by a gentle lady in traditional costume, who tried to hold the huge crate in place as the man picked up a sledgehammer. They looked like a recipe for an accident.

"Alright, let's help him."

Rohan called out immediately to the man to offer assistance. The man stopped and grinned appreciatively. Ripping out crates were something Rohan was particularly good at. Before I finished lashing our goods on my end, five pieces of wood were scattered on his end, with multiple crooked nails hanging dangerously. Rohan even helped to load its content up the van. By then, I joined them to pack the remains of the crate into the van, I took the opportunity to ask the man what he was collecting. It was his personal belongings, air freighted from his country. It turned out he was a new migrant from Sri Lanka, just arrived a week ago. The lady was his wife, who had a higher proficiency in English and did much the conversation with us. He obtained that van for A$1,500, from a friend. A rather good deal, I thought.

The new migrants thanked Rohan profusely as we bided them goodbye. Rohan told me they stood there to give a him a big wave as I drove past.  "I always lend a hand whenever I saw someone in need," Rohan explained. "You know, like pushing a stalled car and things like that? I even helped someone to buy petrol when he was stranded by the road before."

What Rohan did would remain in the minds of the new migrants for a long time. I prefer a good gesture from a stranger anytime, to new buildings, new structures or promises of dreams.


  1. Nice write-up mate! Life in down under.

  2. Who said you were rubbish at being a Manager? Sounds like you have proved yourself wrong:)