A desperate call came in at the Tailwind Delivery Service headquarters, the kind of summons that Max Cargo lived for. A smile broke across his face, bright as the new dawn that greeted him, because he knew his own professional readiness to get the job done. This call came from a plumber on site who needed an oddly angled U-bend to fix a burst pipe at the historical Buster-Leaker House located in Westhampton Beach. Max’s email blipped with a chiming alert requesting him to call the main office and get the juicy details of what would be another manic Monday on the job.
Max Cargo selected the office out of his list of contacts and heard the deep rolling voice of his dispatcher Bill Payload, a man dedicated to the everyday mayhem associated with delivery in this kind of business. Oftentimes, the service calls literally flowed in like water, dripping at first and then inundating whole logistical levels like a burst pipe, enough where people’s livelihoods hung on the ability to get a single speedy delivery. Every second counted, and that's where Max Cargo came in.
“This one’s gonna be ugly, Max,” Bill Payload said.
“We are dealing with a very specific part here. A limited supply. A rare angle of a U-bend, one who few manufacturers even make anymore, let alone stock in their warehouses. The customer tracked one down at We Bendum Plumbing Supply store in Philadelphia, but they need it onsite pronto.”
Max sponged up the dispatcher’s drama with relish, anticipating the challenges and pitfalls that Monday traffic would impose, yet dauntless in his resolve to get the job done on time.
“I’ve got this, Bill. Let me go for now. Please email me the address of this We Bendum’s location. I’ll call you with any problems.”
Max Cargo navigated the highway rush hour conditions. It was a merciful commute getting into the City of Brotherly Love. He was in and out of the We Bendum Plumbing Supply store with the client's much needed U-bend. Then, while power walking up to the delivery vehicle, he checked the weather forecast and traffic report. His drive to the final destination seemed smooth and open, but Monday’s elusive treachery finally revealed its fangs. Max’s traffic report warned of construction along the route but gave no impression of any major delays. Once on the on-ramp, however, the lay of the land told a much different tale. Max hit massive traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike, with bumper to bumper gridlock and no end in sight.
He grabbed his cell phone and hit redial. “Hey Bill, it's Max. I have a serious situation out here. The traffic is brutal and shows no signs of clearing anytime soon. If I’m gonna make this deadline Just in Time, I’ll need a way around all this. Any suggestions?”
Bill Payload scratched his stubby chin audibly over the receiver. He typed a few things into his computer terminal, and after a moment on hold came to Max’s rescue as always.
“Ok, Max. I’ve chartered you a plane out of the Trenton-Mercer Airport. You’re gonna want to get off at the next exit and make your way there. It’s the only way to get around all this. That traffic is an accident on top of construction. Flying is our only option.”
Max thanked Bill for his assistance and made his way off the turnpike. Before long he was patting himself to check if he had everything and left the delivery vehicle in the airport parking lot for someone else to retrieve. Max got in the plane, shook the pilot’s hand, and was soon in the air with no issues. Flight time was an estimated forty five minutes with the tailwind, so Max and the pilot chatted about who was winning what in sports, straying as far as some minor political talk. After thirty five minutes, the pilot received some bad news of delays from air traffic control at the Francis S. Gabreski Airport off Old Riverhead Road.
Apparently, they were seventh in line for clearance to land. It would take roughly two hours to get through the queue, and that was time that Max Cargo simply did not have. Thinking fast, Max rummaged through the plane’s supply locker. He found a parachute and started to go over its contents for safety. Once that checked out, he went to the cockpit and got some GPS and lat/long data about their relative position in the air. Bill Payload texted him with a customer service call about their progress, and so Max quickened his pace, strapping into the parachute while requesting that the pilot divert his course. Max pointed out the street names of Old Riverhead Road, Mill Road, and Potunk Lane for his neighborhood flyover of the Buster-Leaker house.
Max checked for the imperative U-bend part in his jacket pocket. He farewelled the pilot and secured his goggles before popping the hatch. Powerful wind rushed through the plane as Max leapt out into a clear blue sky. The feeling of his descent got Max’s heart pounding, with wispy pockets of moisture all around him and an ant-scaled grid line of cars driving beneath. Max pulled the ripcord and felt his parachute deploy. Almost at once his rate of descent stabilized. He glided down carefully to avoid utility obstructions and safely landed on the client’s front lawn. He secured the parachute and texted Bill Payload that his arrival was JIT.
Max removed his goggles and strolled up to the front door, giving it a ring. The client answered and before he could even say hello or ask who Max was, the U-bend part was placed into his eager hands. A sigh of relief washed over them as Max tabulated the nature of this extreme transportation, converting the land freight rates to air freight with more than a little satisfaction. Just as Max was turning to leave, the plumber called out to him in disbelief.
“I can’t believe you got here so quickly! Thank you!”
Max replied with a broad smile indicating a job well done.
“Sometimes, the last mile needs to go straight down to get the job done.”