'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Except in Hahndorf, South Australia, where Santa's best-laid plans went sadly pear-shaped last Christmas Eve. But happily for Santa, Fleetcare Crash Management was there to help him just when he needed it most.
There was Santa racing around Hahndorf delivering presents right on schedule with everything going smoothly. Then all of a sudden directions to the reindeers were misunderstood by some of them as a request for a comfort break. While Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen and Comet headed left, Donner and Blitzen at the front veered off to the right and headed for the public toilet at the end of the street. It was chaos!
"Nein, nein Donner und Blitzen! I said the SCHMIDT house!!" Santa yelled in exasperation. "Oh dear me what a mess!"
It was! Presents were scattered far and wide, the sleigh was a mangled mess and Santa was left sitting on the kerbside dejectedly with his head in his hands wondering what to do next. That's when he remembered that as a Fleetcare client with Crash Management help was always at hand - even at Christmas. He reached for his mobile phone and called us.
We were immediately seized by the urgency of the situation – millions of children were expecting their presents! With no time to spare we sprang into action.
Happily Santa and the reindeers were unharmed, though Donner and Blitzen in particular required comforting with consoling words, a drink and a feed of lichen from our team.
Our expert team quickly concluded that the sleigh required extensive repairs and that Santa would need a loan vehicle while that was happening. That really had us scratching our heads. Rental sleighs aren't easy to come by in Adelaide at any time, let alone over the silly season. Hmmm!
"No problem," said Santa, who by now had regained his jolly disposition, "I've got a spare one in the workshop back home."
Well before we could say "Yo, ho, ho" he'd leapt on Prancer's back and was headed for home with the rest of the reindeer team following behind. And just five seconds later he was back again with a replacement sled and the reindeers in harness all raring to go! With a cruising speed 3000 times the speed of sound I guess that wasn't so surprising after all.
"Sorry I took so long," said Santa, "teenzy bit of a problem harnessing ze reindeers."
From there we helped Santa reload the sleigh, all 200,000-odd tonnes of it. To be honest Santa did most of the work. The Fleetcare team all worked like Trojans trying to keep up but couldn't match Santa's pace – he was just a blur! Honest!
And before we knew it he was geeing-up the reindeers and heading off with a hearty "Yo ho ho! Thanks guys and Merry Christmas to you!"
"Don't worry Santa," we yelled as he disappeared into the night, "leave it to us, we'll take care of the sleigh for you."
We then arranged to have the sleigh moved to an approved Fleetcare repairer. Look, we can't pretend this bit was easy. Suitably qualified sleigh repairers aren't exactly ten-a-penny in Adelaide, or anywhere else in Australia for that matter. We even tried ringing round smash repairers in the Snowy Mountains. Nope, nothing.
But we're nothing if not persistent here at Fleetcare and we eventually tracked down a qualified and experienced sleigh repairer in Lapland, Sweden. We then arranged to have the sleigh freighted there for repairs and obtained a quote for the job.
Now checking quotes for sleigh repairs is not the sort of thing we do everyday, but we did our research diligently and got our most experienced people to go over everything with their usual fine toothcomb. We then gave the job the go-ahead and made sure that repairs were carried out properly.
Santa was most impressed by the way we kept him up-to-date with progress and how we reassured him that the sleigh would soon be back in action better than ever and ready for next year's deliveries.
From there it was a matter of checking the repair work and approving it. And we have to say that Sven's Sleigh Smash Repairs of Lapland did a first class job of it. It was all gleaming gilt and beautifully crafted timberwork and all of it finished with the magic friction-proof coating so vital when travelling at Mach 3000. Santa was chortling and reckoned he'd never seen the old sleigh looking so good when he picked it up.
Fleetcare takes safety seriously. While we didn't think a driver education program was really needed for Santa, we did think safety on the sleigh would be improved with a technological upgrade. We suggested Santa install a Bluetooth communication system with headphones for the reindeers. That way they'll clearly hear Santa's directions and costly misunderstandings will be just another Christmas fable.
It's always great when we get positive customer feedback, but Santa's jingle-bell-ringing endorsement was particularly sweet.
"Fleetcare Fleet Management? Yo Ho Ho! I wouldn't leave the workshop without it!" he chortled.