I gripped the seat and the door handle for my life, and sat rigid in the passenger seat of the ambulance. My crewmate, nonchalant, yet transfixed in their psycotic driving, was hammering it on blue lights – tearing through the city streets, bareley putting in any thought of using the brake pedal. Cars swerved off the road, quickly mounted curbs, almost ploughed into one another – anything to get out of the way of our speeding ambulance screaming it on blues and twos.
My crewmate was taking no prisoners. It was their way, or . . . well, it was their way. That is all.
I have never been so terrified about someone driving on blue lights before. But the problem was – we weren’t going to a job. No one was ill – that we knew of anyway. We were simply heading back to station at end of shift. My crewmate, being the “old-school” type, simply wanted to get off on time. And by quickly, it meant blue lights on, get the fuck out of my way.
We came tearing round the corner and swung into the yard. My crewmate, with theatrical finesse, and just because they could, screached to a halt with a huge revving of the LDV’s V8 engine and stopped – causing a huge explosive BANG from the exhaust as it backfired. Black smoke enveloped the rear of the truck.
“See ya!” Was the final parting they gave me before leaping from the truck and jumping into their own car to go home. Before I could blink they’d gone.
I sat for a minute or two further to catch my breath. The night turn crew were busy waving the black smoke out the air and putting their kit on the truck.
“Does it need anything?” They asked. The MDT was already bleeping away with a job for them. Red 2, chest pain. Two hours old.
“Everything” I suggested. Basically, it was a shell of a truck with empty cupboards and bags held together with tape, string, chewing gum and thoughts and prayers. The night turn rolled their eyes and motioned for me to get out.
We swapped places and the crew left straight away, to attend the job on the screen. No checks. Nothing. No time for that. The truck would remain woefully under prepared and severely lacking in kit. But that was what it was like, day in, day out.
This is one of many short anecdotes of when I first started in London. I joined as the old LDV’s were being faded out to be replaced by the Mercs. The trick with the exhaust was a classic. My old mentor loved doing it on arrival at jobs.
I’ll bring up more “confessions” from yesteryear. And my god, there were lots!