Monday, July 4, 2016

Uship, A Drug Dealer, and The American Dream: The Destruction of Happiness

  I awoke Sunday morning, June 12th, to an inescapable heat which had invaded my tree shrouded van around 7am. The previous day had been a sweltering affair. I'd driven 750 miles from my childhood home of Jonesborough, Tennessee to the northern edge of Orlando, Florida before finding a nicely wooded Episcopal church parking lot to rest at the witching hour of 4am. The mercury reached 95 degrees during the previous afternoon in some Godforsaken portion of South Carolina where humidity's omnipresence stifled even shady corners. I lamented bypassing Savannah and, that den of banking secrecy, Jekyll Island, both of which hold places of prominence in my heart. There was no time for enjoyment, my customers, one of which caused this extra trip to Florida at great expense, were more insufferable than the difficult climate. My perseverance began to pay off around 9pm and I dispensed with the less difficult patron as twilight draped Jacksonville in merciful darkness.

  Having lightened my load by one abusive customer named Lanair, who's motorcycle was delivered three days late following delays due to other customers in Maine over Memorial Day Weekend, I opted to leave the interstate in favor of the A1A coastal highway as far as Daytona where I would catch interstate 4 to lead me through Orlando to Lakeland for pickup of a Ducati bound for Miami. Driving along the coast offered some respite from the stress which has been mounting upon my shoulders over the past 10 months. More than 120,000 miles have passed my mirrors in that span, but the source of my anxiety isn't the long hours, frequent solitude, or non-running Harley Davidsons. Rather, my grief is rooted in the selfishness, greed, dissatisfaction, and lunacy of others. From loathsome hood rats to the most powerful companies, innocuous circumstances all too frequently make me public enemy number ONE. It's a tiresome affair, often being accused of laziness, or stealing motorcycles and their parts. Dealing with stupidity is difficult, however, dealing with insanity is impossible. I encounter both situations all too regularly. It's a constant battle which robs me of my happiness.

  I took to abandoned beach access somewhere south of St. Augustine around midnight. No Nighttime Parking signs are littered all about the public land still remaining in Florida and this National Park beach was no different. I pulled my Sprinter cargo van directly in front of one, gave a brief thought to
Teddy Roosevelt, and scampered off to the Atlantic to peer into the distance. The halfish moon provided adequate illumination to navigate the sandy banks without the aid of a flashlight but the lack of companionship left me wandering in the dark. My most reliable friend, Daisy, had been left in climate controlled comfort for the redundant trip to Florida. A week-long heatwave was engulfing the Southeastern just I departed for a delivery I'd already attempted to make.

  Miami, I've found, is a good place to avoid. Its climate is rarely to my liking and it is filled with assholes. My trips there have generally been hot, frustrating, affairs, and I'd taken to avoiding Florida altogether. However, the purchase of a van off Ebay necessitated a return to the southern reaches of the Citrus State. Though I wished to make the stop quick I decided to book some work around the trip. There were two Suzuki enduros bound for Miami from Denver. These bikes can be packed tightly and don't take up much space. Given that I was passing through Denver anyway I made a competitive bid and won the job. My portion of the bid was to be $500.
When I called to arrange pickup in Denver my customer, Mike, informed me that the bikes were to be crated. Since the listing didn't mention the crates and I was low on space this presented quite the conundrum. Uship, the company I booked the shipment through has a cancellation policy which punishes me for excessive cancellations. It doesn't matter which party requests the cancellation, 95% of the time it is my customers that capriciously book then quickly cancel, I am hit with an additional 5% fee, bringing the total to 25%. In the case of this shipment the difference is $25. Over the last 10 months I have perpetually been charged this higher rate. About 200 jobs. 200x$25=$5,000. This incentivizes continuing on with jobs that I would, and should, otherwise cancel. So, rather than telling Mike, who was very indignant that I even express concern about the 500 pound apiece steel crates which would require triple the cargo space of the bikes alone, to take his misrepresented job and shove it, I instead attempted to reduce the harm it would do to my business. I offered to take the additional items for $300. Mike insisted on $200. This easy job was shaping up to be a lot of work. What would have been a 10 minute pickup in Denver required two hours of drudgery. I arrived at the delivery address in Southwest Miami on Monday May 9th having informed Mike over the weekend of the impending delivery and the need for the shipment's payment code to be made available to me at that time. Florida was working me over well and the trip began as a failure. The van had been completely misrepresented on Ebay and, though I had already paid for it, I walked away without it.
My friend that met me in Miami to take the van had made the trip for nothing. I took
a hotel and awaited Monday so I could make my delivery and get the hell out of town. I had deliveries as far north as Maine and I was behind schedule. As Murphy's Law would have it, Monday was a comedy of errors. The address I had been provided was incorrect and when I did locate what I
thought to be the proper address they were unaware of any motorcycle deliveries and nobody knew anything of Mike. I called, texted, and emailed Mike to no avail. After two hours of waiting I called Uship to explain my difficulties and have them attempt to contact him. An hour later, I called and told them I had to leave. Not only was there no payment code for me to be compensated for my very difficult work, there was no one ready to accept the delivery. The extra load made all of the subsequent stops exponentially more difficult. Compounding the pain of added complications and no pay I would, in all likelihood, be forced to abandon my planned trip to the Isle of Man, for which I'd already invested $6500, in favor of a return to Miami, Florida. What a pain in the ass.

  I finished my lonely late night walk along the beach with a quick dip to wash away the day's accumulation of sweaty grime. It was about one am and I realized I how hungry I was. I'd not eaten all day. It had been far too miserable to consume anything aside from liquids. The Denny's in Northern Daytona wasn't as busy as I anticipated for around two am Sunday morning. Upon exiting the van I noticed that my driver's side rear tire was very low. I'd deal with it after dinner, I thought, and went inside to order a large plate of greasy delicacies and a bottomless cup of coffee. I decimated my meal along with three cups of coffee. I wanted to make it through Orlando before sunrise and I still had a tire to fix and around 100 miles to cover.

  I'm not sure if it was the fact that I had been consuming eggs and bacon like a recently found castaway, or that I looked as if I'd bathed in the ocean; perhaps it was my dirty van and its deflated tire, but mostly I believe it was a very sad look upon my face that was the impetus for an anonymous patron to pay for my meal. Whatever the reasons, when I asked for the check my waitress informed me that it had been taken care of and my benefactor had already left. I looked out the window and a SUV's lights illuminated and quickly backed from alongside my van. I waved and attempted to muster a smile before peeling myself from my seat and pumping a can of Fix-a-flat into my screw penetrated left rear.

  The big local news from the previous day was that some reality show competitor had been followed home and shot in a murder-suicide. Fortunately my newest van has a cd player and I grabbed an old
cd case my mother had unearthed from somewhere within the bowels of my house back in the hills of Tennessee before I left for Florida. I'm becoming a firm believer that, on the aggregate, no news is good news and I dug out an old favorite album to keep me company on the road between Daytona and Orlando. Live at Pompeii is possibly Pink Floyd's most inventive work. It encapsulates human emotions leading up to, facing, and following the chaotic horror that crops up in life. At about 2:30am I pushed the cd into the dash and made my way towards Orlando.

   I've driven and ridden all over the world, and I have a particular skill at finding places to sleep when my determination is overcome by weariness. The key is finding green spots on the GPS, which generally denote parks and public spaces, and then investigating. In Florida this is no longer so simple. The State has sold off nearly all of its public land since the sub-prime mortgage crisis, at what I'm sure were rock bottom prices. So, when I left interstate 4 at 3:45am, I wasn't terribly surprised to find that the parks on my GPS were now gated communities or in the process of becoming gated communities. I quickly gave up my search and pulled into an Episcopal Church parking lot just on the northern outskirts of Orlando. There were two large twin oak trees in the upper portion of the lot that blocked the security lights' glare. I backed as far under them as I could, popped open the rear doors and quickly passed out around 4am.

   Advertising is a devilish thing. It is devised to mislead and manipulate. No matter how resistant we think were are to its sway, in truth we can do little to subvert its inertia. I am no exception to this principle and after the morning's humidity rousted me from my slumber, but before any curious Episcopalians came calling, I returned to the interstate to see a sign for 80's music and cut off Pink Floyd. 107.7 may indeed have the best mix of 80's music in Orlando most of the time, however, last Sunday morning there wasn't a tune to be heard on it or any other station. "We have 50 dead and 53 injured" was the eventual explanation for the lack of music. As I followed I-4 through Orlando I peered to my left to see a sky cluttered with helicopters circling the dead like vultures. I felt nothing but revulsion and an absolute desire to be somewhere else as soon as possible. Florida, what a shit hole. I shouldn't have even been there. I made Lakeland, swiftly collected the Ducati bound for Miami, and delivered it to its new owner within four hours. Immediately afterward I checked into a vastly overpriced hotel to escape the stifling weather and prepare for an early morning delivery of the motorcycles and their damn crates.

  A couple of days after the last attempted delivery of the bikes and their crates I received a call from Mike apologizing that the folks at the delivery location knew nothing of the delivery and he had not been available to provide me with the payment code. He explained that the company I'd tried to deliver to had been hired by his Costa Rican lawyer friend and now things were fixed. I was less than happy with his explanation due to the fact that I'd given him two days notice to be ready. I was already in the heart of Georgia on my way to Maine then the Isle of Man. It would be quite a while before I would return to Florida. He passed along my phone number to his buddy in Costa Rica, Andres, that held interest in the motorcycles. He called to discuss the situation and asked if the bikes could be delivered sooner. I told him I would be forced to hire a driver or miss my trip to do it myself and that I would talk to my driver, Oleg, to see how much he would require to get him to make the trip. There was no huge rush for a resolution I had lots of business in the Northeast and they couldn't be brought to Florida till June at the earliest regardless how the extra trip was handled. Andres seemed content with this. Mike, who ironically owns a Marijuana dispensary in Colorado, was far less pacified. He sent me a steady stream of crappy texts threatening lawsuits. What a shit head! His inept attention to detail for the delivery was costing a great deal of stress while I was busy attempting to leave the country. I told him that the motorcycles and their colossal crates were at my home in Tennessee when ever he wanted, all I wanted was the payment code for the delivery I'd attempted to
make. I wasn't even inclined to ask for anything to cover the substantial work required to load and unload around his undeliverable items. Sadly, Mike still wanted me to make the delivery and he continually sent me threatening texts. Maine, Iowa, and finally another in Tennessee. I was getting fed up with this dickhead. He began accusing me of stealing the bikes and their parts. His patience was non-existent. He wanted to know why I hadn't got in touch with Andres to offer a dollar amount to make the return delivery. I had in fact already done this and informed Andres that I would require $800 for the unscheduled trip from Northeast Tennessee to Miami. I forwarded the correspondence between Andres and I to Mike and he quickly asked for a PayPal address. I didn't have one but gave him the address of a friend of mine traveling the U.S. with her therapy dog. He sent $774 to my friend and I explained that I would be heading to Miami the coming weekend to deliver the bikes and he needed to be on point for the delivery. He thanked me but I had the feeling it was less than sincere.

  I departed from the Diplomat hotel Monday morning. 100 yards from the front doors I began to sweat. I climbed into the van and drove to the shipping agency to undertake the backbreaking task at hand. Thankfully, this time Mike was available. It took about three hours to remove the bikes and their crates from the van and get them into the building. My clothes were saturated by perspiration and my eyes burned from the unceasing flow of sweat when Mike was informed of the successful delivery. He told me to have the contact from the shipping agency call him to confirm the delivery and he would then forward me the shipping code. Thank God! I'm glad to have that one behind me, I thought.

  I drove west through the everglades in a state of despair. The stifling conditions only reinforced my
despondence. Not even thoughts of harassing alligators with my drone were enough to pull me from the doldrums. I passed multitudes of the soulless creatures and my quad copter remained within its case. I'd sacrificed the past year of my life to work and save. What a sham! When other people's incompetence complicated my life I indulged them at my own expense. Save for a winter trip up the ALCAN highway to Alaska, 37 has been the most miserable year of my life. Never have I felt so overwhelmed and underapriciated. The Unites States, Uship, and its shitty customers were unwilling to loosen their grasp on me long enough to take a fresh breath of air. Hell, I shouldn't even be in this shit hole I continued telling myself. I should be watching the last of the TT races on the Isle of Man. Has the money I've made over the last year been worth the loss of my happiness, optimism, and humanity? Fuck no, it has not!

   Nearing the western reaches of Southern Florida I realized that Mike never contacted me with my
payment code. I stopped at a pull-off where a dead gator laid covered by a dozen or so vultures. It reminded me of the previous day's scene in Orlando. I grimaced as I typed out a text to Mike asking for the payment code. I waited, watching the apex predator get picked apart by the scavengers. No response was forthcoming. Mike was attempting to screw me. I turned my van around and booked a hotel back in Miami. I don't think so you son of a bitch.      

   Mike Kollarits was trying to fuck me from the very beginning. Those crates were purposely omitted from the uship listing to save him a chunk of money. He was underhanded and aggressive throughout my dealings with him. From what I can tell it's his typical behavior. This is made all the more infuriating by the fact that he is a wealthy guy. Here is a copy/paste from a post regarding unionization in the medical marijuana industry in which he opposed worker's rights. Mike Kollarits, the Medical-Marijuana Industry spokesperson said, They didn't see the need for unionization in an industry still in its infancy. Colorado voters approved Amendment 20, on November 7, 2000. After 12 years, how can the Medical-Marijuana Industry still be in its infancy.??? Public records indicate in the last 6 years, Mike Kollarits bought a half-million-dollar home in Oswego, Illinois for his wife Jill Kollarits, and he bought the same for his girlfriend, Betty Schroeder, in a gated community in Genesee, Colorado. For himself, he bought a Beach-Front Home in Costa Rica, where he Swings and Conducts his International Business Operations away from the US Government, see: Mike Kollarits owns a $1M, 1987 Dassault Falcon 100 Jet to travel between his three homes, and a $80K, 2010 Mercedes-Benz SL500 Roadster for when he stays in Denver. Mike Kollarits owns four dispensaries including: CMMO Meds & Dacono Meds in Dacono and in Patients Plus & Simply Pure Dispensaries in Denver. I'd like to point out that this was well before recreational pot became legal further bolstering his profits. He set up his most recent shop just over the Nebraska line . What a turd.

  During my trip back to Miami Uship forwarded me an email from Mike in which he accused me of extorting him. It was chocked full of B.S. and he made threats of litigation over the shipment of his clearly misrepresented, and then, due to his own incompetence, undeliverable, load. I pulled out my guns the following morning at the hotel and asked friends on social media to pass on their concerns over Mike's unscrupulous actions to his dispensary's facebook page . Bad business is difficult to hide in the age of social media. 

  Later that morning I arrived at the shipping company as they opened at 9am with the bill of lading in my possession. It documented the shipment that I'd made the previous day and detailed that the payment code be provided to me upon delivery (which it had not been). I explained the situation to them and told them that if Mike did not produce the payment code by noon I would be forced to take the motorcycles and their damn crates with me to Tennessee. They had no choice but to let them go. I had the bill of lading. Mike threatened lots of law suits that morning and representatives from Uship decided to support him rather than me. They claim that they are an unbiased third party, but that is crap. When it comes to me getting paid, they certainly do nothing to help, claiming that it is solely my responsibility to get the payment code. However, when irrational, or even overtly nefarious customers make bogus claims, even as serious as theft, when it is clearly not the case, they tighten the screws and suspend my account if I'm unwilling to accommodate them. I'd been left with a bad taste in my mouth from previous deliveries where I'd not been compensated and it wasn't going to happen again. I was getting paid or the bikes were going with me.

  I don't have much use for most hipsters. They produce very little other than scorn, and yet tend to have inflated sense of self-worth. Unfortunately, I suspect most of the cogs in Uship's Austin, Texas based machine are these pop-culture brats possessing the omniscience that only those with life experience relegated to swiveling chairs in climate-controlled surroundings can have. When they called to admonish me for doing what had to be done to get paid for this job, I stood firm. Unbelievable, I thought. This asshole is doing his best to fuck me and Uship is intent on assisting him. I told them that he had 15 more minutes to provide me with the code or I would recover the motorcycles and head to Tennessee. At 11:55 Mike provided the code and payment was received. I thanked the folks at the shipping company, apologized for the trouble, loaded into my van and headed north. I prevailed, but a reprisal was on its way.

  When the dipshits at Uship tell you to bend over and grin, you will do so or they will extract revenge. They expect that you will capitulate. Myself, I'm too tired of getting fucked to give a damn. They may all go straight to hell! I am very upset that I cancelled my trip to the U.K. to cover for Mike's mistake. In hindsight, I realize that I should have left those bikes and their fucking crates in Tennessee till I returned in August. I doubt that it would have made a sliver's difference in the outcome in Miami, but at least I'd have had my vacation and Mike would have been left waiting. It's what we both deserved. I was driven to try and protect the business that I've worked so tirelessly to build. But it was wasted effort. Uship cancelled my bids and all of the shipments I'd booked but had yet to collect. They emailed all of the customers telling them that I was being investigated. Fortunately, I was able to deliver the motorcycles I had on board headed north, but there is one bound for Denver that has yet to be delivered. By cancelling other westbound deliveries they ensured that
this delivery has been greatly delayed while I have arranged other business. Before it was even late, Uship suggested to this customer that the motorcycle be reported stolen. Those assholes will get what is coming to them. But in a way I'm happy for the push out the door. I'd made them about $35,000 over the past year, and they treated me like shit. I was the #1 motorcycle transporter in the world on their site. I had booked shipments for them all over the United States and throughout Europe despite the struggling economy there. Nonetheless, I was still someone that they were willing to fuck. I'm better off without them. They should have treated me better.

 After my account was suspended, before I even made it out of Florida, I made my way to Jekyll Island, a fine place to formulate ideas, to decompress and think about what's next. I have a plan.

Michelle T. (uShip)
Jun 21, 10:31 AM CDT
There is no reason his suspension should keep him from completing loads he already has, and if he cannot figure out a way, then you would have no choice but to report the motorcycle as stolen. Israel, surely you can find a way that does not involve the police?
Michelle T.
Trust and Safety Team Lead
Israel Gillette
Jun 21, 11:06 AM CDT
Yes, it involves other shipments. I am amassing them at the moment. The shipment is simply delayed. I'd like to point out that you cancelled several westward shipments that I had booked. Had you not done this I would have been in CO by now. Your urging Heather to report the motorcycle stolen, when clearly it has not been, has been noted and this correspondence will be forwarded to my attorney. You are deepening your liability.
Israel Eugene Gillette
Sent from my iPhone








  1. Do you have an active and legal DOT number?

    1. Here is further reading for you. You can pass it on to the government authorities you hold in such high regard. Tell em' I said "Screw You! I'm one of the best drivers to ever grace this planet. I get my authority from God.".

  2. I don't need one. I drive a 3/4 ton van. A normal D class license is good enough. Do you need some bikes moved?

    1. Actually, YOU DO! You can not legally haul for hire and get paid without a USDOT number and insurance. You are the problem on the road not anybody else. Without it you are considered an illegal carrier, and as such will be reported to FMCSA for action to be taken to stop you from making it unsafe out on the road for all the legal carriers that do have a valid authority to transport across state line for hire, and do carry the necessary insurance as required by law. Your spout off is unwarranted since you are not legal to haul.

    2. Let's just call it a motorcycle ride share then. If you're finding it difficult to compete perhaps you should find a new line of work.