2 injuries shut down delivery service
Two delivery drivers and two trips to the emergency room on the same day last month have left 400 Sunrise Home Delivery customers in Dickinson without groceries on their porches.
With no one to fill his delivery route and Rick Gardner unable to train anyone, his customers have gone without his services for nearly two weeks.
Dickinson residents have had groceries delivered to them through the business for at least 50 years, Gardner said.
"This is the first time, probably since the inception of your town, that you haven't had home milk delivery there," Gardner said. "I've personally been in charge of it for 20 years."
Gardner, who owns Sunrise Home Delivery, was covering the Dickinson route after a winter storm blew through the area in late January. As he was loading up the delivery truck before making rounds, his legs were crushed between two trucks.
"I set the handbrake and was back taking some of the stuff off the truck for the Land O'Lakes guy and while I was doing that, probably about five minutes, obviously my handbrake gave way and the truck came rolling back," Gardner said. "I didn't see it and it pinned my legs between the two trucks."
The driver of the other truck moved Gardner's truck and two others heard the commotion. They took him to the emergency room.
"I have no clue who they were and I sure wish I did," he said.
The employee who was supposed to be on duty that day was called to finish the route, Gardner said.
"At about 10 stops in, he slipped on some ice and sprained his ankle, so he went to the emergency room," Gardner said.
The employee's ankle healed, but he no longer works for the business, Gardner said. Others tried to fill the route, but with nobody to guide them, it became impossible, Gardner said.
"I was left with no other choices," Gardner said. "I had to shut that route down."
In the meantime, Gardner's customers, like Stormie Kasian, miss the service.
"I guess I felt I was pretty spoiled because I have three children and we probably got 2.5 gallons of milk delivered plus two cartons of eggs," Kasian said. "Occasionally I'll get miscellaneous stuff if need be, like cream and butter."
Having the groceries delivered freed up time, she said.
"He usually comes at 3 o'clock in the morning," Kasian said. "So it's there when you get up in morning."
Gardner is out of the hospital and at home, but is unable to walk and goes to therapy daily. He is unsure when he will be able to reopen.
It will be about two months before he's walking and a year until he's back to 100 percent, he said.
"If I found an individual that I know would do a good job with it and I wouldn't have to babysit the route, so to speak, out there, it's something I would definitely look at," Gardner said. "But as of right now, I'm kind of more focused on keeping what I've got going and trying to get my health back."