One of the company’s longest-serving members of staff, Jacky Stace, tells us that lorries deserve more respect and that she’s a dab hand under the bonnet…
When did you start working at Jempsons?
I’ve been at Jempsons for 34 years. The shop I was working in closed and a friend of mine sent me the advert for the Jempsons receptionist.
Tell us about your career progression…
I came in as telephonist, receptionist and Telex operator. The drivers used to have to find a phone box and ring in and I’d have to take their details, ring them back and put them through to whoever they needed to speak to. Then things eventually progressed to mobile phones. Then I started typing things up for Jonathan Jempson, dealing with all the accidents and goods-in-transit claims. People don’t respect lorries on the road, they don’t understand them. If someone complains about a driver on the road, we say the vehicle has a camera on it and we will download the footage and if the driver was in the wrong he will be disciplined. That normally pacifies people. A few years ago, a motorcyclist came round a corner on the wrong side of the road and collided with one of our lorries. Our driver thought he’d hit him. He was so shocked he couldn’t get out of the cab. Had we not had that camera, we would’ve been liable [because the motorcyclist’s partner said the lorry was on the wrong side of the road].
Any anecdotes from your time with the company?
When I was on reception I used to get people coming in irate because a lorry had splashed them or scratched their car. When I started, Jonathan Jempson’s father used to come in every morning to open the post. He never spoke to me. He used to walk past me every morning. He said to a colleague one morning, ‘Who’s the girl?’, but he never said a word to me.
Have you ever driven a lorry?
No. Years ago I would have liked to, but not now.
Can you fix a car?
That depends on what’s wrong with it… I can change a wheel and do the oil and water!