“I was supposed to be a hearse driver. That was it. That was all that was in the job advertisement, that was all that was discussed in the interview. I was just supposed to drive hearses to and from funerals.
The first red flag was I was told during the interview that I would be on-call 24/7, which I thought was weird because funerals are usually planned at least a couple of days before they happen. But, I didn’t pay any mind to that detail.
So my first day comes around, and I get a call from my new boss telling me to pick up the hearse from the funeral home and meet him at a house. In my head I’m like ‘??? at a house???’ but then I’m like ‘maybe the body is already taken care of and I will just load it up and take it to the funeral home.’ I didn’t wanna question too much on my first call so I pick up the hearse and head to the house.
Nope. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I arrive at the home, and my boss, the police, and the family of the deceased are standing outside. The front door is open, and from the inside of the hearse in the driveway, I can just smell death. Legitimate, real, death. It’s unmistakable and you never forget it.
I greet my boss, and the first thing he says is, ‘I’m so sorry man. If I knew it was gonna be like this, I wouldn’t have made this your first call. I’ve never seen one like this.’ No hello, no nothing. so I immediately start internally freaking out because I have no idea what’s about to happen.
He tells me that not only am I going to be driving the body to the funeral home. We’re going to be removing the deceased from the home. So I start freaking out even more. I didn’t sign up for that! But, I’m in front of the police, and the family so I just play it cool and do what I have to do until I can freak out alone.
We go into the house, and it is worse than the worst episode of Hoarders you’ve ever seen. Think of the most filthy house you can imagine… I promise you it was worse. The deceased had suffered a heart attack at the top of his staircase, fallen down the stairs, and died, landing in a crumpled mess at the bottom. And stayed there. For four days. Before his family came looking for him. This was not going to be an open casket funeral, to say the least.
So now we have to get him out of the house. The body was close to 350 pounds if I had to guess, and stiff as a board. I’m not a big guy. 5’8′, maybe 155lbs. So, because of where the body was positioned in the home, and because of what a mess the house was, a gurney was out of the question. We were carrying this body out in a sheet. It was the most I’ve ever struggled within my life. After getting the sheet under the left side of the body, my glove ripped. I said to myself in my head ‘I should definitely replace this glove.’ A cop gives me a replacement glove. And boy am I glad I replaced that glove because when I put the sheet under the other side of the body, I pulled my hand out absolutely covered in diarrhea. I had to use all of my concentration to not puke on the body at this point. Nerves, heat from the summer, and all my senses except taste were assaulting my stomach at this point. It was tough.
This is getting so long, so I’m gonna wrap it up quickly.
We get the body in the hearse, I drive it to the funeral home, and I think, ‘Cool, I’m done now’. Wrong again. I then had to learn how to prepare a body for the mortician. I had to strip this decrepit, rotting body unclothed. More nausea ensues. When I was done, I drove home in silence. Got home, sat in silence staring at the wall for about an hour.
Worst experience of my entire life. I quit the next day. I get my check. $62. $62 lousy dollars for all that trauma at 18 years old. Forget that.
I got counseling for the whole experience and now I clean carpets and air ducts for a living. Things are a lot better now.”