Ride Hard: Jack & Dianne

I must have one of the most unglamorous jobs in the world, sure there is probably other jobs out there without glamour but I’m still ranking mine up there pretty high on the unglamourous meter. I work at a steel recycling plant, I’m the office everything, I answer phones, I greet customers, half of them through a window, I solve issues, I pay bills, I pay staff, I do everything but sit in the big office and make all the decisions, well that’s what it feels like some days, in other words I am the office champ. Even though I dress relatively casually for work I don’t make the biggest of efforts because of the nature of the business, everything here is dirty to touch. I try my best to keep the office clean but as staff come and go in their dirty work gear and as dust spreads whenever the wind blows, keeping the area entire clean is neigh impossible.

Most of our visitors turn up in large trucks, they run over the automatic weighbridge as they enter the gate, I wave them through when the computer tells me it’s registered their weight, they disappear into the yard, dump their load where they are told to and then exit over the same weighbridge where the computer checks their empty weight and spits out a receipt saying how much we owe them. The truck drivers at times have to come into the office to pick up their receipts or organize new contracts but the majority of my customer interaction comes from the general public. The guys who turn up with a trailer full of recyclable steel they’ve been ordered to clean up from home when their wives finally get sick of the mess. They’ve got little idea how the plant works, no idea where to drop their steel and no idea how we figure out our payments, some of them don’t even understand the concept of signs that say “Stop On Weigh Bridge”.

Needless to say it’s a rare occasion when a motorcycle turns up in our yard, not even the few guys on staff who ride bikes bring them to such a dusty environment. So I guess you could say I was slightly surprised when a motorbike pulled up on the weighbridge last Wednesday morning. My knowledge of motorbikes is on a par with my knowledge of brain surgery so I had no idea what sort of bike was at the weighbridge window and I could see little of the rider given the tinted windows and his full face helmet, but customer greeting was in my job description so got up and made my way to the window to see what I could do for the man on the bike.

Sliding the window open I poked my head out through the gap, at the same time the rider of the bike took his helmet off. Short black hair, chiseled chin line highlighted by a short stubble that would send most necks into a spasm, piercing blue eyes and a smile that seemed to gleam as his teeth caught the sun. My first thought was that I was actually dreaming all those wonderful features but when I blinked I still saw the same gorgeous face so I guessed I hadn’t fallen asleep at my desk. I thought about pinching myself to make sure it wasn’t a dream, but to be honest if it was I don’t think I wanted to wake up.

Like I said I don’t know much about motorbikes but when he climbed off the bike I couldn’t help but notice all the chrome as it gleamed in the sun, which again made me wonder why he’d bring such a clean looking bike into such a dirty environment. Did he not know the place in which he was entering? I hoped that wasn’t the case, although there is that saying about all the looks and none of the brains.

He was wearing full leathers, he was obviously a smart biker and took safety seriously so maybe he got some brains as well. Although he looked relatively fit and even muscular thanks to the close fitting gear he was wearing what was underneath was a mystery, a mystery I wondered if I could solve. Even at the weighbridge the noise of the loaders, crushers and cranes were loud so I waited until the bike man was only a few feet away from the window before I spoke.

“Good Morning. Welcome to Campbells Metal Recycling, how can I help you?” I said politely.

Like a gentleman he held out his right hand and offered it to me to shake as a greeting, he then responded. “Good Morning. Jack Richards I own RichCraft Custom Cycles. I was hoping to speak to the manager about my recycling needs.”

Hand shake greeting, chiseled good looks, piercing eyes, good shape and polite, this guy was definitely not the normal type of person we saw at the recycling plant. I again found myself blinking to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

“Bill’s not in at the moment but if you’d like to come into the office I can discuss whatever it is you need.” I replied cheerfully. “There’s a small shed just at the rear of this building,” I leaned out the window slightly and pointed in the direction I meant. “Park your bike there it will keep it out of some of the dust and crap that’s in the air. Just be weary of stray scraps of steel and crap on the ground.”

It seemed to me that since there was less rubber in a motorbike tire they would be more susceptible to small scraps of steel so warning Jack also seemed like the right thing to do. Jack didn’t suggest I was wrong instead he thanked me and pushed his bike around the back of the building, then in less than a minute I heard the office door open and the sound of heavy boots walking down the tiled floor from the coffee room. Once he was in the office I offered him a seat and coffee, he politely refused the coffee and took up the offer of the seat on the opposite side on my desk.

“How can I help you Mr Richards?” I asked as he got comfortable.

“Jack, please.”

“Ok Jack, I’m Dianne, pleased to meet you.”

When Jack removed his leather jacket and draped it over his right knee I actually pinched myself under the desk, I honestly thought I was dreaming. Apparently I wasn’t!. The man sitting directly opposite me in a black Harley Davidson T-shirt which covered an obviously well toned body was real, the faint outline of the 6 pack abs were real and the tattoos peaking out from under the sleeves of his T-shirt were real too. Jack Richards, despite me being local for nearly thirty years and never hearing about him or his business was indeed a real person and he’d waltzed into my office needing my assistance. I knew I had to focus on his needs, sorry his requirements, but I was having trouble.

Somehow I managed to stay focused as we discussed Jack’s recycling needs. He didn’t have the need for large trucks, large bins or a regular pick up service but his business did require steel recycling and I was able to set him with a service that was not just cost effective for him but also meant his business would not be impacted by our drivers picking up his waste steel and metal. I’d like to say I was pleased with my efforts in new customer development but realistically that’s my job, it was what I was paid to do, so while there was some satisfaction it wasn’t an abnormal thing in my job.

After nearly an hour of chatting and with contracts signed Jack got up to leave. Again I found myself looking at his wonderful physique, even wrapped up he looked good. I also noticed there was no ring on his finger, I know that didn’t automatically mean he was single but it gave me hope. Hope for what I don’t know because it’s not like I’d ever act on the feelings I was having, Jack was a customer of the company I worked it was not my job to hit on customers.

“Well on behalf of Campbells Metal Recycling, I thank you for your business Jack.” I stood up and reached out across the desk to shake his hand. “If there is any problems, and I hope there isn’t, or any questions, don’t hesitate to call me.”

His grip was firm and lingered just a little longer than one would usually expect from a business hand shake but I didn’t mind. “Can I call you any time?” He said in a low voice before quickly adding, maybe in the hope I hadn’t heard it, “Thank you very much, I’m sure there will be no issues.”

With that he let go on my hand, I felt my heart drop slightly, and he tuned and headed for the door. I watched him head down the tiled floor towards the coffee room, he twisted himself into the tight leather jacket as he walked and although I could only see him from behind I was definitely not complaining.

Standing at the door with his hand on the knob he turned and called out. “Perhaps if you’re not busy one day you’d like to come down to the shop and have a look around.”

I had no desire to tell him motorbikes were not an interest to me because suddenly they had become very interesting. He didn’t wait for an answer he said good bye and was outside the door. The next I saw of him was a minute or so later as he rode over the weighbridge and passed the window with his hand in the air.

As I sat down at my desk my heart was fluttering, a feeling I hadn’t felt in years. I suddenly wondered if my months of moping around the house alone might be about to change.

To Be Continued

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