Bert drove a Big Mack refrigerator truck. He made deliveries all across the country. His truck kept loads of ice cream and vegetables frozen or cheese fresh, for days. Bert liked to arrange his route so he would pick up the load of food from the warehouse, drive to his home to sleep in his own bed and make his delivery in a far away town in the mornng. Otherwise, he'd have to sleep in the little cab of the mack, which had a bed inside. He'd stop at truck stops to use the pay showers and bathroom. He would eat in one of the restaurants at the stop.
Bert wouldn't turn off his truck while he made a stop. Instead, he'd leave the engine running, so the engine could cool the freezer and refrigerator in the storage area inside the trailor. The trailor must remain cool to keep the food from spoiling.
One evening, Bert parked the fully loaded Big Mack in his own driveway and left the engine running. He forgot to lock the door to the cab. Then he went upstairs to sleep before his morning drive.
Now, a Big Mack is very noisy when its running. Bert was used to the noise because he heard it every day. Unfortunately his new neighbor Fred, didn't hear it every day and didn't like to hear it day or night. Fred asked his wife what noisy beast had come to town. When she replied that it was only Bert's truck and not a snoring elephant, Fred went next door to see what he could do about it.
Fred tried the handle of the Big Mack's door and found that it turned easily. He quickly climbed in, turned off the ignition key, and hopped back out.
"Now I can sleep in peace." thought Fred.
Bert woke in the morning to a strange quiet. How odd it was, not to hear his Big Mack's engine running. He jumped out of bed. He must find out why the truck was off! Then he realized he had no time to waste on the why it wasn't running. If it wasn't running, it wasn't refrigerating, so he must check on his load.
The ice-cream was melting into soup. The once-frozen peas weren't like little rocks anymore. The cheese was warm and soft. If he didn't act fast, this whole load of food would become trash!
Bert called his shipping unit, who began to think about ways to solve the problem and salvage the food. Bert's load was expensive, and valuable too. People were depending on eating the food inside, and the shippers didn't want to lose a lot of money.
After many phone calls, there was a plan. The melting ice-cream would be brought to a snack shop which would turn it into milkshakes. A soup cannery would buy the defrosted peas to put into their canned soups. A restaurant would buy the cheese and use it up fast on pizzas. All these customers would get a discount and Bert's load wouldn't need to be dumped in a landfill.
Bert had to drive quickly to get everything to its destination. Can you help him find the best route to take?
As for Fred, he was very sorry when he found out how many problems he had caused for Bert and the shipping company. He appologized and promised to help Bert. He mowed the lawn for him all summer, fixed the gutters on his house and still takes out the garbage for him every week.
Bert brought Fred a pair of ear plugs next time he came home with another refrigerated load in the Big Mack. He promised too, that some day, he would have a large, sound-proof garage to store the Big Mack in, with an electric door opener, and space to put nine beautiful cars.