I don’t normally ask for help here, but yesterday I was almost run over by a van, which is unusual for me.
I was walking to the old town area of Runcorn to get my bus and tried to cross the road at Okell St, opposite the garage. In front of me was an old man, I would guess he was in his seventies. Now, normally my walk to work involves me sniffing the flowers which grow along the walls of the upmarket terraces of Greenway Road, tipping my hat to local bees and butterflies and thinking about my long life with no injuries or physical traumas.
Yesterday, however, my own mortality was brought into sharp relief when I was almost run over by a BT Openreach van driven by a man who was talking on a hand held mobile phone. The man in his seventies suffered only a gust of air to his tweed coat, and the van missed me by inches, so all was well. However, I felt that driving a van along a major feed road to the Runcorn Bridge and swerving into a street whilst talking on your mobile was just not cricket, especially when I consider how important that phone call must have been in terms of my continued health. Perhaps he was advising the FA on how they might react to racist incidents at the Euro 2012 Championships. Maybe it was a nervous Nick Clegg on the end of the line prior to his appearance at the Leveson Enquiry. We may never know.
I took down the registration number of this potential government advisor and later that day went to the BT Openreach website. I was pleased to find that they had a whole form specifically for reports of dangerous driving by their vans.
I filled in the form, thinking that the fact that I had the registration number of the van would be a bonus. I imagined that in cases of dangerous driving, it would be hard to see and remember the reg number of vehicles. (I immediately typed it into my phone, despite the cold finger of the Grim Reaper tapping me on the shoulder.)
However, today I received this reply.
Dear Ms Walker,
Thank you for contacting Openreach.
I am very sorry if you feel that an Openreach employee has driven inappropriately and/or dangerously.
You have provided vehicle registration number FT54 CYW but unfortunately this registration does not show on any of our records as belonging to an Openreach vehicle.
As you can appreciate there are many Openreach employees, who work in many different departments, driving Openreach cars and vans, in all areas of the UK.
Our drivers are ambassadors for our company, and their behaviour reflects on peoples’ perception of our company therefore we take these issues extremely seriously and I am sorry that we have not been able to find the engineer and van responsible on this occasion.
Although I am unable to get an apology from the engineer, on behalf of Openreach please accept my apologies that this incident occurred and for any distress this may have caused you.
Should you have any additional queries please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks and regards
Openreach Complaints Management
Now, I do not wish to have anyone sacked for nearly taking my face off, but I find it hard to believe that Openreach are unable to identify the van in question, despite the bustling telecommunications hub that Okell St, Runcorn is at 08.05 on a Wednesday morning. I responded thus.
Thanks Helen, I appreciate that it must have been almost impossible to know which drivers in a marked OpenReach van would be going to the BT interchange in Okell St Runcorn at that time on that date. Okell St being a dead end, there must have been a lot of vehicles travelling there and I’m sure that there is no way that there would be a similarly numbered vehicle in that one place at that one time. To be fair, I wasn’t sure about the T in the FT54 CYW. The van was moving quickly and I had almost been run over, so I might not have been in the best position to remember accurately whether it was FT or FP, or FR.