CBS Chicago
glen-kraft.jpg

Bad reception, delayed text get driver fired

May 22, 2019
"Why would I text my boss while I was driving?" asks the driver, who claims he had written the text while pulled over but bad cell service held the text until he was back on the road.

A truck driver was terminated for texting a message to his boss while in motion, even though he claims he was parked on the side of the road when the message was sent. The driver, 52-year old Glen Kraft, had worked for Nestlé, and said a poor mobile signal delayed his message, and made it seem as though he was driving.

"I was driving down Dundee Road, which is Route 25, and I heard that I got a text message," said Glen Kraft. "I was going onto the expressway, 90 West, and I pulled off on the shoulder and read the message."

As required, he put on his brakes. "I sent the message, got back on the road and went on my way."

Another message came in; Kraft pulled over, and responded to that one, too. This time, however, he didn't hear any sound verification that his text was sent.

Nestlé did not return an e-mail from Fleet Owner seeking comment for this story. However, a Chicago TV station photographer, who helped cover the story, sent a text in the same location and also experienced a delayed delivery.

A spokesperson for Boost Mobile, which is a reseller of the Sprint network, Kraft's provider, said that it is possible for a text message to stay in a queue after the user clicks “send,” until the user is in a place with a better signal. The message is time stamped when the message finally goes through and not when the user tapped it out on their phone.

"I knew something was wrong when the phone made the 'voop' sound about 15 or 20 minutes later when I was on the road. This happened to me once before while I was in Appleton [Wisconsin] but nothing came of it." This time, however, Kraft believes that his boss was looking for a reason to cite him. "Why would I text my boss while I was driving? That wouldn't be smart." He later related to his boss: "Well, what did you do? You got the message and you instantly looked on my logs?”

Kraft believes that the action by Nestlé was retribution for an incident in which he cited a safety violation concerning an employee shoveling snow on a building roof. Kraft was given a company commendation for pointing out the violation but it got one of his higher-ups in trouble. "I kind of felt that this was payback. I got a feeling he looked to see where I was [when I texted]. I think he was trying to catch me doing something wrong."

Kraft's story would be a "he said/she said" argument if it were not for a CBS Chicago, which not only covered the story but texted from the same spot Kraft did and got the same delayed result because of poor coverage.

Reporter Lauren Victory, who covered the story, verified that their photographer sent a text from his personal cell to his work cell at the location where Glen told them he had pulled over. It was delayed by nine minutes as seen in their video. They also showed a coverage map from the carrier that indicated spotty mobile service in the same area.

Kraft says he has been driving since 1989, first operating a semi-dump truck and then for other food companies. "The last company I worked for was Black Horse Carriers. Then I got a job at Nestlé.

He added: "I thought when I worked for Nestlé I had hit the mother lode. I’m like, wow, I got to Nestlé. What a great company."

He joined Nestle about 1.5 years ago and drove a dedicated route between East Dundee, IL, and Appleton, WI.

"I called Black Horse and I might be getting my job back – hopefully," he said.

UPDATE: A couple of weeks later, we checked back in with Kraft after Nestlé investigated his termination appeal. 

About the Author

Larry Kahaner

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