Heroic Humans: Go Forklift Yourself

Oh, how I hate it when my candy gets stuck! (Digital Trends)

Oh, how I hate it when my candy gets stuck! (Digital Trends)

Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t dream of starting another blog series given how poorly some of the others have performed—most notably the Reality Round-Up, which many readers never warmed up to. But I’m impelled to do so now because every time I prowl the news sites or peruse printed publications for new ideas, I inevitably come across inspiring stories of fellow humans doing heroic things.

Granted, some of their exploits may not seem like heroic deeds—even in the eyes of the law—but they all serve to better humanity or to right some injustice in their own unique way, and for this I feel they deserve some recognition. Hopefully you will feel the same once you read this first installment of Heroic Humans!

Our first hero comes from the American Heartland of Milford, Iowa—a very small town known as the southern gateway to the Iowa Great Lakes. He is 27-year-old Robert McKevitt—a veteran of Kosovo and Afghanistan via the Army National Guard and formerly a forklift operator at Polaris Industries in Milford.

McKevitt was fired last October following an incident of “misconduct,” according to the official report. If you ask me, though, what he did not only cut through some bullshit we have all faced at one time or another, but also warranted congratulations, not termination. You be the judge.

On October 22nd of last year, McKevitt was working a shift at the plant and decided to visit the restroom. On his way there he spotted the vending machine, so he put in a dollar and attempted to purchase a Twix candy bar. Here is how he described what happened next:

“I don’t know why I decided I wanted a candy bar, but I did. So I put in a dollar and it spun like it was going to give out the candy bar, but it didn’t. It got hung up on the spiral thing that ejects the candy bar.”

Robert McKevitt and his daughter (CNN/Robert McKevitt)

Robert McKevitt and his daughter (CNN/Robert McKevitt)

Who among us hasn’t experienced this time and time again? And every time is more frustrating than the last, only McKevitt wasn’t going to take it any more.

“I tried shaking it by hand, but it didn’t do anything. Then I tried putting in another dollar and nothing happened,” McKevitt continued. “I could see the candy bar dangling and I was already having a rough day. My girlfriend was nine months’ pregnant and it was rough.”

And it was about to get rougher.

After spending several dollars on candy he never received—and shaking the vending machine furiously without producing the Twix—McKevitt employed a more powerful tool: his forklift!

Specific details depend on who’s describing the incident, but everyone seems to agree that McKevitt used his forklift to lift the vending machine several feet off the ground and then drop it—a procedure he repeated five or six times. He then moved the machine back into place and collected the two or three candy bars he managed to shake loose.

And that’s more-or-less what got him fired. A Polaris representative witnessed the incident, confronted McKevitt about taking candy bars he never saw him pay for, and reported him for misconduct.

“I was fired two days after my daughter … was born,” McKevitt said.

A short time later—and because of the added financial stress—McKevitt’s relationship with the mother of his child ended, he couldn’t make his rent and he was forced to move in with his brother. Polaris denied his request for unemployment, so McKevitt had to file an appeal with Iowa Workforce Development. Unfortunately, he never received the letter about his hearing and missed it, meaning his request for unemployment benefits was again denied.

“I had to take a job at Walmart making about half of what I was making at Polaris,” McKevitt said recently. “I’m making just under $9 an hour and before I was making about $16 an hour. This issue was blown way out of proportion.”

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Seems reasonable to me… (Reuters/Tim Shaffer)

I couldn’t agree more, my friend. And I confess that using a forklift to knock loose a candy bar stuck in those annoying spirally things inside a vending machine appeals to me greatly. There were certainly times that I imagined putting my foot through the glass and letting everyone around me gorge for free… or perhaps shaking the machine so hard that it toppled over and spread free goodies all over the floor. Sadly, I never had the balls to actually do it, but McKevitt did.

Does he really deserve to be fired for it, though?

Not from where I’m sitting, Polaris!

Posted on February 23, 2014, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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