Entering a new year, most of us sales professionals will start preparing to hit the pavement once again. As you all know, all of that travel certainly doesn’t always go without incident. In my first blog post of 2015, I will share with you, one of my funniest “Road Woes” which happened to me while I was working in Quebec last year.
Managing a territory as large as Canada is no simple task. Calling on mobile medical professionals adds a whole other level of difficulty and requires superior time management skills. On an average day, I will travel anywhere between 400-500 km and meet with 4 or 5 practitioners. I’m sure you’re thinking, “That doesn’t sound very efficient!” however, most of my clients (90%) are located in remote areas, travel in a 1-2 hour radius from their office base and frequently get called out to emergencies. Needless to say, I spend a lot of time on the road and well, anything can happen!
I usually spend the better part of September calling on my clients in Quebec (AKA “La belle province”). For those of you who are not familiar with Canadian geography, Quebec is the only French speaking province in Canada. It is essentially its own country with its own culture that is completely different from the rest of Canada. Whenever I travel there, I always seem to experience the most hardships and not simply because I am an Anglophone.
This past year, I was about half way through my trip. So far so good I thought. No speeding tickets, no accident and no flat tires. I was travelling along Aut-55 to Sherbrooke grooving along to some tunes approximately 1 hour from my destination when I discovered a large bee inside my vehicle. To be precise, it wasn’t a bee but rather a yellow jacket which is a type of wasp. It was approximately 1” long which is quite huge!
Everyone always says that if you don’t provoke them, that they won’t sting you. Well, everyone is wrong. So wrong!
When I first noticed it sitting on my passenger seat, I thought (and hoped) that if I simply opened the window it will just fly out. But it didn’t. I suppose driving at 120km/hr isn’t exactly conducive to flying out of a window if you are a wasp.
How did it even get in my car without me noticing? A few days prior when I was unloading my things from my trunk, I noticed a large wasp land inside my trunk. It didn’t leave and I couldn’t find it, so I closed my trunk and forgot about it.
Well, somehow this thing was still alive and it made its way into the front seat of my car and boy, it wasn’t happy!
I continued driving and tried to remain calm, telling myself “If you don’t piss it off, it won’t sting you.”. I was planning on keeping calm and taking the next exit to safely pull off the road, stop the car, open the windows and doors and let it out of my vehicle.
Then suddenly, I felt an excruciating, sharp, stabbing pain in my back!
The wasp was under my shirt and bit me. Even though I leaned forward towards the steering wheel, it continued to bite me and again, and again.
After the fourth bite, I was delirious with pain and could barely concentrate on the road. I was still 2km from the next exit and I just couldn’t take it any longer, so I swerved my car to the side of the road and pulled over. The car was still moving when I threw it into park. At that point I really didn’t care if I ruined my transmission. I immediately jumped out of my car, ripped my shirt off and started running around screaming at the top of my lungs.
So there I was, on the side of a major highway, running around my car wearing just a bra and screaming like a madwoman! I’m sure someone caught that on video and posted it on YouTube somewhere.
I knew I was bit pretty bad and I needed some sort of treatment. Fortunately I had my fishing gear in my trunk and in it I had a tube of AfterBite. I couldn’t apply it to my back directly, so I squirted the stuff all over the window of the passenger side of my car and then proceeded to rub my back all over it. Classy move, I know! But it helped a bit. Thank goodness I wasn’t allergic!
As I drove to my hotel, I was thinking, “What if I was allergic and had a medical crisis while I am here in Quebec? If I call 911, do they even speak English?”.
When I arrived at my hotel, I asked the concierge that very question. She informed me that it is mandatory for all 911 operators in Quebec to speak English.
This turned out to be very useful information as the next day, I was involved in a car accident with a man who did not speak English and I had to call the police. If I didn’t know they spoke English, I probably wouldn’t have made that phone call and the guy who hit me would have gotten away.
All things happen for a reason I suppose.
So the next time you’re driving on the highway and you see someone driving erratically, just think, maybe they are getting violently stung by wasps. This experience has given me a whole new perspective on “distracted driving”. You never know what’s really going on behind someone else’s wheel.
Drive safe fellow travellers.