3 Crazy Stories From AT&T Uverse Cable Installers
All of these stories are 100% real.
People who do this line of work will not question the validity of these stories but if you have a normal job, you may not believe them. Names, Dates, and Locations are 100% made up.
There are so many more!
I only chose 3 because no one wants to read a novel but I've searched everywhere for stories and these 3 made the list. Some are from Facebook, some from Reddit, some from super secret, private, confidential, technician groups, pages, and people. A technician Illuminati if you will.
"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." -Dorothy, Wizard of Oz
It was getting late in the day and everyone was itching to go home. More so than normal. A hurricane was coming and we'd all been working 6 days a week. Getting prepared meant going to Home Depot at 8:00 p.m. and boarding up windows at 9:00 p.m.
The wind was picking up slightly but the sky was still as beautiful as any other south Florida Day.
My customer was a nice middle aged man whom I've been to 3 or 4 times in the years I've worked this area. Each time I visited, he'd excitedly tell me how his new business was coming along and this time was no different. He was doing really well and I was happy for him. He showed me his ever growing gun collection, new tricks he taught his dog, and told me about Old Man Hansen down the street stealing garbage cans from the driveway. The repair was simple and only took about 15 minutes but we stretched it out to about an hour. Call it customer service.
Mid story, we hear an alarm. My phone, my work phone, his phone, and the TV all at the same time.
The National Weather Service in Florida has issued a Tornado Warning for... South St.Lucie in south Florida... North Merten in south Florida... Until 430 PM EST. At 357 PM EST, a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was located 7 miles south of Palm Beach moving north west at 10 mph.
We both looked slightly confused because simultaneously we looked outside the sliding glass doors to see a beautiful blue sky. "That's weird" he said and we wrapped up our conversation. This is south Florida, not the infamous tornado ally of the mid west. I can't remember ever even hearing about a tornado down here.
Either way, that message meant I needed to hurry up and get to my truck before the inevitable rain came. I spent a minute or two packing up my tools and saying my good byes. It started raining by the time I got outside. Great. I threw my tools in the back, scooped up my orange safety cones and tossed them inside as well. The rain was getting heavy now. Wow, talk about a flash thunderstorm!
I slammed the door shut, soaking wet, watching the sheets of water drain down my windshield. It was really coming down... and dark. Like middle of the night dark. My truck began swaying with the wind. I looked in my driver side mirror and it may as well have been painted black because I couldn't see anything.
The truck swayed harder. Then harder. The rain sound was deafening static but another noise broke through. A loud noise. Like a train, or... no, like a plane. It sounded like a jet engine was starting up.
Working in this field has, luckily, given me some practice with weighing options, risk vs reward, and growing a really big set of balls apparently. "Let's think about this. I'm in my truck. 10 minutes ago it was a bright sunny day with a slight breeze. Now, it's so dark that I can't even see the houses. The rain is no longer coming down, it's coming horizontal. Something is making a really freaking loud noise. My truck feels like it may actually tip over. I need to get out of this truck."
Notice, "tornado" never crossed my mind. That's how sure I was that tornadoes didn't vacation in Florida.
I reached for the door handle and as soon as I pulled it, the door slung open with enough force to take my arm with it. So much for easing into the rain. After being thrown from my truck, I start running to the house. I can't see it, but it's only about 40 yards opposite of where I parked. I can't see anything. The rain is freezing cold and so powerful that each drop feels like a small needle piercing my skin. I put my head down and just run. The wind was so strong it felt like a bad dream where you run as hard as you can but you're not moving. I leaned into it and kept pushing my legs. I was getting hit by palmetto leaves or paper or something, I couldn't see it but I could feel large, thin objects hitting my face and arms.
I tripped over his driveway curb. All that running and I only made it off the road?! Even though I fell while running, the wind pushed me sideways instead of forward. I could see 2 palm trees now and remember an odd, relaxing moment where I analyzed them while laying in the driveway. They had the glow of automatic flood lights that came on when it was dark against a black sky background. "How are they bending that way? Did they have a bend before the wind? Is that why they haven't snapped in half?" I rolled up onto my knees and struggled to the front door.
The customers house was in the shape of an 'L' and the garage blocked a lot of the wind. When I finally got to the front porch, it was covered. Out of breath, freezing cold, soaking wet, I looked back at my truck. Or where I thought my truck was. I could only see the dome light because I didn't take the time or effort to close the truck door that had so easily tossed me into the street.
The house door opened and the customer told me to get inside. He said "What is going on?!"
"I don't know", I said trying to sound like I didn't just pee a little. I didn't realize it but I was shivering. He asked if I was okay and I responded about being cold from the mix of rain and now AC but in all honesty, I was nearly convulsing. I couldn't stop it. He grabbed a towel and I started to dry off. Then... it stopped. Just like that. It was bright blue outside. A few lingering, grey clouds scattered the sky but it was primarily a blue canvas again.
We looked back out the sliding glass doors and he said "Oh my goodness, look at that." I didn't know what he was talking about. It was just his pool then a huge field of grass. He then said, "my fence is gone... and my pool screen."
I questioned him "pool screen?"
"Yea, my pool was enclosed with a screen and it's..." he took a deep look left and right, "Yea, it's gone. I don't see it".
Turns out, a tornado ripped through the field in his back yard. Multiple houses down the streets lost shingles but that field was it's primary path, thankfully.
Tornadoes are ranked in severity by numbers. From F-0 being the weakest, to F-5 being the strongest. Later, the news reported that it was an F-0. Wow, that was the weakest tornado?!
To this day, when it starts getting dark before a storm, I get nervous. Actually, I get scared. Terrified.
"Say hello to my little friend!"- Al Pacino, Scarface
I was new to AT&T at the time. I had maybe 8 months of unsupervised work under my tool belt. It wasn't like now. Now, I go into a hoarders house and it's just another day at work. I don't come home and tell my wife stories about the roach infested house or the prostitutes I watched pick up customers. Back then, the "real world" was new to me.
If you haven't guessed, I work in the hood. The ghetto. The impoverished neighborhoods. Whatever you choose to call it, I call it my daily territory. These neighborhoods are easy to spot. The lawns are a disaster. No landscaping at all. The roads are littered with trash and debris. The homes are falling apart but the cars in the driveway are always sitting on $5,000 chrome rims or are old Crown Vic police cars they bought an an auction.
The inside of the houses are about the same. They have the newest TVs and video game consoles but the carpets are heavily stained. Along with crayons, markers, and stains, the walls are also filled with holes. I don't know why, but there's always dirty underwear located in the living room somewhere.
I was working this particular installation and having some issues with the aerial cables. I called some outside help and did some work inside while I waited on them to arrive. After an hour or so of being in and out of the house, I see my back up arrive. He gets out of the truck and I give him a run down of my issues. We agree to tag team it.
I climbed the pole in front of the customers house as he drove down to the end of the street where the neighborhood meets the main road. It was maybe a quarter mile away. He called me and we began work. I'd put a locate on a pair of wires and he'd try to see if those wires made it all the way to where he was. We went through about 5 of the 15 pairs of wires when I hear a car fly by him. I said "man, they're not slowing down for you, are they?"
He said "no, and they're headed your way so keep an eye out". About that time, I hear sirens on his end of the phone and made a comment about them pulling him over for his speed.
That's when I see the car. It's easily doing 70mph in a residential neighborhood. I work this street a lot and know that 3 houses away, the road has a sharp curve to the right. There's no way he's going to be able to slow down to make that curve. I was right. When he realized it, he slammed on the brakes and slid right into a tree in someones front yard. I quickly looked the other way and saw he was dragging about 6 cop cars behind him.
The cops were there instantly. The cops parked about 50ft ahead of where I was swinging from the pole. That left about 100ft between the cops and the wrecked car and about 150ft from me and the wrecked car. If you're not familiar with that distance, think of it like this. You and your neighbor share a property line. The average distance between your two properties is roughly 150ft.
The cops get out, guns drawn, and start yelling orders from behind their open doors. Working in the hood, I've heard cops shout commands before but it never does get less scary. A police officer full of adrenaline will shout commands that make the hair on my neck stand up. It's scary and intimidating. "PUT YOUR HANDS OUT THE WINDOW RIGHT NOW! DO IT! I SWEAR TO GOD I'LL SHOOT YOU IF YOU TRY ANYTHING!" A few more police cars show up including one of those SUVs that transport a K-9 Unit.
I forget I'm on the phone with my buddy. He's talking but I don't hear him. No one has left the wrecked vehicle. The hood is folded in front of the windshield and steam is rising from somewhere in the front or inside, I'm not sure. Then the back passenger door swings open and someone takes off running. The cops shout at him but he doesn't stop. He ran behind the house his driver wrecked in front of.
I'm watching the wrecked vehicle to see what the rest of them do. Then, all hell breaks loose. The back window shatters the same time I hear a loud pop then another. It could have been 3 or 4 shots. Then, the fleet of cops next to me all start shooting back.
Now, I'm stuck 30ft in the air swinging from a ladder on a telephone pole. I got no where to go. I turn to put the pole between me and the wrecked car and try to make myself as skinny as possible. I don't know how long they shot at each other or even if the wrecked car returned fire but it seemed to last for an entire minute at least. Finally, the shooting stopped. All I hear is angry barking from the K-9 Unit. I hope it can't climb a ladder because I'm feeling really vulnerable up here.
The cops started shouting commands again. This time, the driver put his hands out of the window. So did the other 2 passengers. I stayed behind the pole but peeked from the side to watch the cops slowly make their way to the car. They didn't bother with the doors, they yanked those people right through the window and slammed them to the ground until each one was in cuffs.
One person was bleeding and I assume they pre-called rescue because an ambulance arrived in only a few minutes. The other two were put in the back of a police car and the K-9 Unit and the K-9 officer went running around the house where the first one ran away.
I took tons of photos after the fact and sent them to my crew in the group chat. Everyone was jealous of the experience. That's just how we roll. I let my boss know I was blocked in and just sat in the driveway watching the aftermath. I also approached a police officer and let him know of my view of the entire thing and offered any help as a witness. He took my name and number and said if they needed a civilian witness they'd call. While we were talking, one of the rescue guys in the firetruck was extremely rude to me about taking pictures. Just putting that out there man, you were a prick.
"And so we are all connected in the great Circle of Life."- Mufasa, The Lion King
I come across so much wildlife in a daily basis. Spiders, lizards, snakes, turkey, eagles, frogs, etc... This includes the bad too, like fleas, ticks, gnats, and mosquitoes.
I had mosquitoes in my work truck in the summer and couldn't get rid of them because I'm always working and always around them. We're not allowed to idle, even when it's 100 degrees outside, so we sit with the windows open. mosquito flies in, can't get out. So, as a joke, I found a lizard and put him in my truck. Fast forward 24 hours and I think I the lizard escaped or died. I haven't seen him all day. So I find a little spider the next day and put him in my truck instead.
The next morning I have random spider web. Just the annoying single strings that get in your face. The spider must be defective so I find another spider the next day and put him in the passengers side dashboard. I found that spider on a full web so I know it knows how to weave!
A day or two later, I have a full web in the passengers window near the mirror! Sweet, I have a pet spider in the truck. Still no mosquitoes in the web though.
Someone at work says a frog would have been better so I find one, and it takes me a day or two to find another and put it in the truck. In the mean time I put 2 more lizards in there. I can't find the spider but his webs are popping up everywhere along with the little string webs that always find my face and arms. Maybe the frog will eat the defective spider and the mosquitoes. The frog just sits under the dash in a corner of the console like a rock, never moving. Doesn't matter if I turn on the ac or anything. I swear he stays there all day, job after job.
My next step is to make sure these fellas are okay and have some nice air so I buy a small plant. It's like a mini bush. I use 3m tape and attach it to the console which was a bad idea because when I water it, it drips into my air conditioner controls and cup holder which reminds me, I should give my friends water. At night I fill a 20oz water bottle cap with water and place it in my passengers seat.
At this point, a week or so has gone by and even the frog that didn't move, left sight. Spiderwebs are everywhere and I get in the routine of cleaning them before I get in every morning. I do pick one that's out of my way and leave it alone, for the mosquitoes. Out of nowhere, I see the lizard skydive off my steering wheel one morning when I walk up. So, he is still there. Or one of them are at least.
Then it happens. We have a safety blitz. It's when a bunch of managers roll up on you unannounced in the field like a group of police with a hot tip you got a body in the trunk. They stop you and check every safety aspect of the job and your work. Let me see your insulated gloves, show me how to inspect them, when do you inspect them, show me how to use them, where is your first aid kit and is anything in it expired, do you have cut resistance gloves and leather gloves, where are your 3 bonds and what are the technical names for them, etc...
Guess who decided to show up. Almost all of them. It was like the Lion King in my truck. The lizard does his leap of faith from my steering wheel as they walk up and it's trying to scamper up the glass in front of the speedometer. I learned the lizards like to stay together so of course there's one running across my dash and no idea why but it leaps over the plant instead of going around it. There's a frog glued to the passengers window like a little ball. There's also a spider above the frog, attached upside down on the ceiling, probably plotting his next single web string. Lastly there is an immaculate web near the passengers visor... With 2 mosquitoes in it!
The managers were not impressed. "why does your truck have all these... things in it?"
"mosquitoes" was my only answer.
"what? What mosquitoes? "
They weren't impressed. We all had a good laugh but I did get an informal warning about handling and harboring wildlife that went straight into my personnel file.