I went to work at Signature Flight Support right after getting back from my Dad’s funeral. Within a few weeks, my son Joel passed away as well. This was the start of a pretty deep depression for me. At the time I didn’t realize how much it affected my work. But now as I look back, I was in pretty bad shape.
I tried hard to make it at Signature. The job was to escort airplanes in and park them on the ramp, then provide whatever services were needed. We serviced everything from the smallest single seat trainer to 747’s. I was trained in proper fuel handling, how to fuel all the different aircraft that came into our facility and how to move airplanes safely. and worked in all kinds of weather. When it was 100 degrees outside or 40 degrees below zero, we worked. Nothing stopped us. The job only paid $10 per hour, but I really enjoyed it because I like being around airplanes.
Eventually, I was promoted to Safety Manager because of my background in Industrial Hygiene and Safety. When I went to St Paul for training, I was told by my instructor that I would be lucky to last six months in the job. He was right. The position was in name only. I was given lots of new duties, but was not given the time to get the work done or a budget to buy what I needed. I was just a line service tech with a different job title. I had no budget for providing training that I thought was needed.
We also didn’t have the equipment or the people we needed to do the job safely. Eventually, we had an accident and damaged an airplane. My friend, JW and I were reprimanded for the accident because we didn’t have the required three people to move the airplane, even though there were only two people on duty and we had no choice. A couple months later, on a very cold, windy and snowing night, there was another airplane movement accident. This time my supervisor and I decided that we needed the Customer Service Agent from the front desk to comply with the rules to have three people to move an airplane. This was Ashley, our boss’ daughter. She was not trained properly to move airplanes, but we did our best to get the job done.
As it turned out, she was clueless and caused us to damage the airplane. I was fired. I was denied unemployment insurance. When I appealed the unemployment decision, my supervisor testified on my behalf but I was still denied the unemployment and my supervisor was terminated also. I don’t know if it was because he stuck up for me or if they just came up with something else. But a year and a half later, Ashley is still there, and we are gone. I went seven months without a paycheck. I had to sell everything I had of any value just to pay my bills and buy gas for the car. Those were bad times.