I currently work as a transport technician for a company that has private contracts with the local funeral homes. My job is picks up deceased bodies at homes, hospitals, and hospices and then transport them to the respective funeral home. Ask me anything about my unorthodox/taboo job!

For proof I uploaded to imgur a picture of the inside of my company vehicle, showing the gurneys used (as most evidence of my position includes sensitive information), as well as a blank copy of one of the forms used for my job.

https://imgur.com/a/T1TocoE

EDIT: On the advise of a few redditors in the field, I have removed the blank paperwork form from the imgur post I used as proof. Although it did not reveal any confidential/sensitive information (as I have been careful to do within this thread), just to be on the safe side I removed it. If further proof is needed of my position, I can for sure give that to the admins, but I belief that its quite obvious that my position is truthful.

Comments: 524 • Responses: 75  • Date: 

Kandron_of_Onlo192 karma

Ever transport someone who turned out to be only mostly dead?

Baelliin196 karma

Haha no not yet. I have had to transport a body from a hospital room with another patient sleeping right on the other side of the curtain however, although that's definitely not the same. Whenever I get a call for transport, it is either from a nurse or police officer that has confirmed the body to be dead, taking the Time Of Death, so it's highly unlikely that the situation would occur, although you see some crazy stuff in this line of work.

TbanksIV182 karma

Ex-removal guy here too.

Decomps are bad but those fucking nursing homes where they have like 3 or 4 people to a room drive me fucking crazy.

Impossible to get the stretchers in there, and doing removals next to someone who will soon be on the stretcher too is such a shit feeling.

Nursing homes can be some of the darkest and most awful places or really really uplifting and comfortable.

It wasn't really something I thought of before doing removals but end-of-life care is so scary man.

Haven't done it in years but I still remember the way the bloaters smell when one of their balloons pops.

Baelliin65 karma

Oh yeah I hate that stuff. I feel terrible taking a gurney into a room with another patient in it, I feel like they know theyre next. Most of the nursing homes around here are pretty depressing, but theres one that is amazing. The nurses there treat me like their own, and I always a soda and snacks for on the road. I've heard how bad the bloaters are, although I've yet to experience it.

TbanksIV55 karma

Yeah they're not great. Those thick plastic bags make them okay though, assuming they're small enough to fit in the bags. Do any super fat people yet?

Seeing how many people who died young were overweight got me to change my shit man. It's weird to be able to witness death trends first hand.

May your decomps be few and your sheet supply never run out.

Baelliin28 karma

I did on huge decomp that was about 300+, that was the hoarder house one. I also helped with a larger lady, although someone else transported that one. I've been doin pretty good with my sheet supply lately, been doing mostly hospice/hospital calls.

goatonastik26 karma

Crazy stuff such as.... ? story time!

Baelliin141 karma

Well definitely my craziest, and also worst experience was a decomposition in a hoarder house. When I say hoarder house, I mean like TLC's Hoarding Buried Alive type stuff. Garbage up to the ceiling, rotting fridge, spiders and roaches everywhere, going to the bathroom in tea jugs, all the rooms blocked off except one small bedroom with one small path. It was horrendous. Of course then this was also a three week decomposing body, inside this small hot hoarder house, so the smell was horrible, and the body itself was heavily decomposed, covered in maggots and bones showing through the simultaneously dry and leaking skin. The picture I painted is pretty awful right? Well on top of all this, the deceased was also 300+ pounds. It took three of us about 2-3 hours to get the deceased out, as there was so much stuff blocking the way to moving him anywhere, and it was so heavily decomposed and disgusting inside. Eventually we were able to drag him out to the gurney outside (as there was no way to get it in the front door). and load him up. It was definitely a pretty awful experience, but it makes for one hell of a story.

Guy_In_Florida80 karma

This, is why I came here. Nailed it. My buddy is a funeral director, he says you are just in training until you have had to deal with someone that died and soaked in the bath tub for 24 hrs.

Baelliin64 karma

Yeah a good decomp is definitely the true test. My coworker that trained said that it's when most people quit if they're going to. If you can handle a decomposition then you can do anything in this line of work.

dasheekeejones6 karma

How did he not fall apart?

Baelliin33 karma

I honestly have no clue. He kinda was honestly, trying to move him made this horrible cracking/ripping noise, I don't even know how to describe it really. Once they get to about 3 weeks or so, they start to dry up and mummify a bit, so it gets better actually at that point forward. 1-2 weeks or so is a nightmare from what I've heard, never had one at its worst.

goatonastik5 karma

Sounds like horror movies can't hold a candle light to that!

Baelliin35 karma

As cheesy as it sounds, the original Evil Dead's crappy cgi mush gore actually is pretty much what it's like.

Kandron_of_Onlo1 karma

[deleted]

Baelliin5 karma

It's pretty good the way I'm being payed. I got in just as they were restructuring the company, so I got lucky. Alot of full time employees actually quit recently, as the company changed the way they were payed and f***ed them badly.

Kandron_of_Onlo2 karma

[deleted]

Baelliin6 karma

Oh I'm great honestly. The decomps are pretty awful, but theyre very rare. The only part of the job that kinda gets to me a bit is that I have a hard time switching between working nights and being up during the day on my days off, usually I'm pretty tired but I'm young so *shrugs*

Kandron_of_Onlo1 karma

[deleted]

Baelliin1 karma

No problem, thank you! I've been thinking of doing this for a few weeks now since it's a pretty taboo job.

Keina24 karma

Not my story, but one told to me by a friend who is a coroner and does their own pick up.

They were sent out for a body from a mental institution. They confirmed the body, got it ready for transport, and left for a moment to finish the paperwork.

A few minutes after they left, they heard someone moving around in back, and a voice asking, "are they gone?" They turned right round back to the institution. It turned out that another patient had crawled in the bag with the body and hidden until he felt the vehicle moving as part of an escape attempt.

Baelliin12 karma

Thats f***ing terrifying. I kinda wondered who does pickups at prisons and mental institutions, as we dont do those kind of calls.

Jakamoko131594 karma

I did this for the coroner's office for a few years. Such a fun job. I miss it fairly often just for the stories. What do you want to do after this job, or are you thinking of this as a career?

Baelliin87 karma

I'm currently going to college for my Associate's, although I'm not sure quite for what (just doing general ed. right now). I love the job, and could see myself being a medical examiner or coroner or such, but I'm not sure. Mostly I'm thinking either Architecture work with AutoCAD, or otherwise something in the IT field, as I'm pretty tech savvy and love working with computers, especially on the hardware end.

Jakamoko131535 karma

I'm actually in med school now and wanting to go into forensic pathology. Make those connections at the coroner's office, they help a lot. Also, look into Tissue Recovery positions. That's what I ended up doing for a couple years after the transport gig. Money is great, jobs pretty easy yet cool to talk about, and it is great experience if you do end up going the medical route.

Baelliin27 karma

That actually sounds pretty cool, I'll have to look into that, thanks! My mom is actually an RN, and has been for the best 30 years or so, and she always tells me about how toxic the medical field is, so I'm not sure about the field. There is a huge demand for anything medical related here however, and I'm sure that more specialized roles have better treatment, so its definitely something I could look into.

newsheriffntown10 karma

When my mom passed away a transporter came to her house and picked up her body. He was a really nice and kind man. I expected him to pull up in a van or something but he didn't. He was driving a smallish SUV. I didn't stay in the room while he wrapped up my mom's body but he asked if he could use the sheet she was laying on. Of course. He then transported her to the funeral home, they did what they had to do then transported her to a local medical college for study. The transporter made things a bit easier for me by being kind.

Baelliin3 karma

Sounds like they have a very similar company/procedure as mine. To clarify for everyone, we actually all use SUV's. I assumed going into the job, and I'm sure others believe- that we use hearses. As cool as that would be, they actually have terrible traction and handling on backroads where we often have to go for residentials, so we use SUV's instead.

OshinkoMaki83 karma

One of my ex's father passed away of cancer while we were still together. Our families are close and we were all there when the body was transported. I could not help but admire the level of professionalism and tact that the transporters had while dealing with our grieving families. I got the impression that it could potentially be a stressful job; even just one wrong word/phrase/action could really offend the family. Do you find this to be the case? Have you had any difficulties dealing with freshly(??) grieving families?

Baelliin139 karma

You definitely have to be tactical in the way you work with/around the family. Some people are pretty together and can give you the information pretty easy, and are relatively calm. Other times, theyre hysterical and in that case the deputy or nurse can give you what you need. I usually try to assess the situation first before speaking. Generally, I like to of course introduce myself first. I then get the information I need for the paperwork. After that, when I'm ready to begin, I explain exactly each step of what I'm going to do, making sure that the family is ready for me to go ahead. This is usually the most vital, as it answers most of their questions and makes them feel very comforted. Once we have the body on the gurney, I always give the family as much time as they want to spend with their loved one before I transport. Basically, as long as youre slow, patient, and explain exactly what youre going to do, it all tends to run really smoothly.

liveat60fps57 karma

I work in the Funeral industry and this is exactly how it should be done. You're a good person!

Baelliin3 karma

Thank you! I learned from the best in my company, and although I'm not a huge huge people person, I suppose sympathy/empathy comes pretty naturally to me.

Igpajo4934 karma

Just want to say thank you for what you do. My mother passed away in February. Her's was after a long battle with cancer and when there was nothing more that could be done, she wanted to be at home. We'd spent the week with her and we were with her when she passed. I was nervous when the transporter came not knowing what to expect. I stepped out to introduce myself and was a little shocked as he was a big, burly guy in a nice black suit with an eye patch. He was a little off putting but after he introduced himself he was soft spoken, very polite, and handled my mother's body with remarkable tenderness. His professionalism and respectful demeanor reminded me of how the military honor their dead. It meant a lot to see my mother treated with the same respect. I couldn't do your job, but I'm so glad there are good people who do. Thanks again!

Baelliin21 karma

Thank you, and my condolences on the passing of your mother. Respect for the body is the number one priority of this job for sure. Some situations such as the decomp mentioned in another comment, we sadly cant put much respect into. But for normal cases, we like to make sure we do our very best. Personally I always try to close their eyelids, and make sure that theyre looking good for the family to say goodbye to. Draping them with the flag with the family if theyre a veteran is also a really sweet and honoring thing that I love to do.

Baelliin75 karma

Hey everybody I think I'm gonna call it a night. I'm super tired and I gotta get to sleep for work tomorrow. I'll leave the thread open and try to reply in the morning to any questions that you all may have. Thank you to everyone for all of your interest. This honestly has been a super cool experience, I didn't really expect anyone to be interested, let alone get this much attention. Like I said, I'll answer more questions tomorrow if you guys would like, otherwise its been awesome. Thanks everyone!

CalmEnthusiasm52 karma

Dang. I used to do this in high school for a funeral home. They contract out to a third party now? That's cool.

Baelliin50 karma

I live in Florida so the funeral homes are BIG down here. To my knowledge, most funeral homes in the U.S. do their own transports, and some here still do (even the funeral homes we have contracts with have hearses available if need be or for ones they wish to do themselves). The funeral homes here in Florida are just so busy that there was definitely a demand for a third party transport. I'm sure that the funeral homes could probably handle it all themselves right now if they wanted, but during the Winter (which as crazy as this sounds in the situation, is the busy season for dying) there is no possible way that the funeral homes could take care of all the cases.

CalmEnthusiasm36 karma

Right on. Makes sense. I worked in a rural area in the south, so the demand was a tad lower.

My crazy stories. We got a rare snow storm (remember this is the south), so I went out on a dead call with my Toyota 4x4. Put the customer in the bed of the truck (gurney and cover), and 4 wheeled it back to the the funeral home. Saddest, was transporting a stillborn from the hospital. There as no need to drive the hearse, drove my truck. Had a passenger in the seat next to me. (I'll provide no further details, but everything was respectful and dignified.)

Baelliin30 karma

While training, my supervisor actually pointed out to me a stillborn bundle in one of the coolers at a funeral home. It was hard to think about, I'm sure that it was definitely tough having to be the one to make that call and for you to also do so.

TbanksIV14 karma

Woah what are the chances? I did this too and in Florida. What area?

Assuming you get paid per pickup you're about to come into a windfall my mans. And decomps won't be as bad. Loved Winter. Good luck out there.

Baelliin11 karma

Central Florida, around Ocala. The full time guys used to get paid per pickup, but the company changed it to hourly on a call, so they got f***ed over bad and a lot of people quit. I got in just as this was happening, and since I said I wanted part time since I was a student, I get paid for 36 hours a week regardless of how many calls i go on during my 3 12 hour shifts.

TbanksIV12 karma

ATS by chance? That's exactly where I did it too and I wasn't aware of any other companies at the time.

That's honestly pretty awesome, assuming the pay is okay.

They had us on call for 24 hours multiple times a week, the big guys only had 1 day off a week which would have made me kill myself I think lol. We got paid per call and per mile on long ones (the fucking best).

Working 12 hour shifts honestly sounds like a muchhhh better way to do that job. Bonus points if you don't even get a call.

Baelliin13 karma

Yeah, the company is going downhill fast though. My supervisor was making about $2000+ a check, and then once they changed up the pay (pay per hour on call and no loaded miles), he was making less than $400. Of course, he couldnt support his family on that, and the company wouldnt budge so he quit.

browncoat478 karma

Does anyone have a reason for the “busy dying season” or is it just in Fla?

Baelliin44 karma

Well here in Florida the winter is out busy dying season because of all the snowbirds that come here. As the elderly population nearly doubles, so too doubles the amount of people dying.

adabinne34 karma

Do the bodies emit any odor?

Baelliin88 karma

Definitely, although it's really on a scale depending on cleaned up they are, and how long they have been deceased. In hospitals/hospices, the patient always is wearing an adult diaper, with a thick pad underneath, so the defecation from death usually is soaked up quite a bit and takes some time to start smelling. For residential calls however, it is completely dependent on whether the family/neighbor/whomever decides to clean them up out of respect. Sometimes the family will clean them up if they are naked, or if they're wearing pants its usually okay. If neither of those things are true, then its very messy and odorous. The second factor is how long they've been deceased. Someone that recently died within a few hours or so generally don't smell much, although they have a very distinctive "old person smell" I would call it, along with traces of defecation (depending on cleanliness). Although we do not get them often, we do sometimes get decompositions at homes where they had not been found for weeks. I've only had two of these, but they are an absolute nightmare, and there is no smell like it.

MonikaMusing8 karma

How do you cope with the smells?

Baelliin7 karma

I tend to use vicks under my nose for worse ones, but mostly you just deal with it. We have masks, but those cheaps scents are meant for cleaning the bathroom and whatnot. Not nearly strong enough for a decomposing body.

RedditMayne33 karma

Have you had to pick up any bodies of children or young adults?

Baelliin53 karma

Not yet. I know my coworkers have had to transport young adults once and awhile, and very rarely children. They said it's a lot more uncomfortable transporting these, as it kinda makes you face your own mortality seeing someone close to your age deceased. I generally transport elderly (50 or so and up), although my youngest I believe was a man in his late 30's.

SuckFhatThit11 karma

When my 3 month old daughter died the surgeon that took her organs for donation told me that she stayed with her until she got to the ME's. She met us there but I always wondered did they let her physically ride with my kid or did she just follow my daughter's body over?

Baelliin12 karma

It would really depend on the company procedures/policies of the specific ME/donation workers. Seeing as its a special case however, normal circumstances wouldnt apply. I see no reason why they wouldnt let her ride with your child. Usually we dont allow anyone in our truck, but usually we'll let nurses/police/funeral home staff slide as they work alongside us. Especially in the case with a child, no one is going to care much for policy when its such a deeply emotional and traumatic case. My condolences for the death of your daughter, I cant imagine what you went through. I hope you are doing well.

triceratropical33 karma

How do you transport bodies out of the hospital without other patients and families seeing?

Baelliin63 karma

Currently the way they have me working, I work strictly nights, so I don't generally have t worry too much about that. Regardless, I mostly come in through the back of the hospitals/hospices or whichever door is the closest to the patient's room. If its busier or earlier in the night, then the nurses will kinda "guard" the other patients rooms while I take the body out. Like I said, I work nights so I don't usually have to worry about too many onlookers, but sometimes people inevitable notice. It really depends on the hospital staff all in all. I've had some that don't really care and have me go in and out through the front doors, and inversely, some that will basically lock down an entire hall while I move the body out so that no patients or family will notice.

triceratropical15 karma

Interesting, thanks!

Baelliin12 karma

Of course, thank you for your interest!

Jakamoko13159 karma

Loading docks and services hallways mainly.

triceratropical6 karma

Do you cover them with something?

Jakamoko131511 karma

Im not OP. My gurneys had this cover that went over it. Basically like a thick fitted sheet. Most of my decedent's were also in body bags as about 90% of my transports were for the coroner's office.

Baelliin9 karma

This is also what we use for our transports. Although I would love it if every deceased was in a body bag, most of my calls I have to wrap up myself. We use white sheet, and wrap the body up, tying it if possible, and putting that on the gurney with the cover over top.

Phallic_Moron28 karma

My daughter died at 10 days old. When I arrived they had put her in a wicker basket with white sheets, so I could say goodbye. After the EMT and police watched me, they took her away in the basket and into the back of the van.

Is this standard? Was she put in a tiny body bag once inside the van? What would be the best way to get back in touch with the EMT's who worked on her for at least 30 minutes.

I guess I'd like to thank them for trying.

Jakamoko131521 karma

I'm not OP, but did transport for awhile. The basket was probably a hospital specific thing. Each hospital handle the situation a little differently, but for family viewings they will try to make it as easy as possible for the family. What happened after they left will vary depending on where your daughter was headed next. If she was going straight to the funeral home, then she was most likely left as is but at the very least completely covered in the blankets/sheets they had her covered in already. If she was going to the coroner's office, it would depend on the practices and regulations of that office. The office I worked for required that everyone going to them was in a bag that was sealed with a 1 time use plastic lock. And yes, there are tiny body bags. This was for security purposes. In order to try to get in contact with the EMTs, you could reach out to the hospital. They may not give you the information because they do not really know what your intentions are but it is worth a shot. I'd try speaking with the chaplain. I am very sorry for your loss, I couldn't imagine going through what you had to. Stay strong friend.

Baelliin7 karma

Second this completely. Definitely depends on the funeral home, but due to the extreme traumatic circumstance, and as it is not much of a hazardous body (as deceased adults are a major hazardous thing, due to diseases and large decomposition) I would see why this would be pretty standard, using baskets and small sheets and whatnot. I'm sorry for the loss of your daughter, that must have been unimaginably difficult.

AnnoyedHaddock23 karma

How did you feel the first time you saw/picked up a body to transport, and have you ever transported a body that was in pieces (for want of a better term) due to an explosion or similar?

Baelliin67 karma

My first time picking up a body was pretty shocking to say the least. When I was very young I went to a funeral for a great aunt, but I hardly remember that, and this was VERY different. My first transport was from a local hospice. The person had recently passed away and was laying in the bed, eyes and mouth wide opened. It reminded me of a movie where someone has their soul sucked out, leaving behind a husk. It was extremely disturbing for the first few transports I had, and I always felt panicky and like I was going to quit, but I quickly became comfortable with it. To answer your second question, not yet on transporting pieces. I have had coworkers that said they have transported bags of bones/pieces from a crime scene but I have yet to have a crazy call like that.

AnnoyedHaddock11 karma

Thanks for answering.

Baelliin21 karma

Of course! Thank you for taking an interest in my job :)

Mr_Shad0w21 karma

Perhaps an indirect question, but are you familiar with The Order of the Good Death? If so, are you a member?

Baelliin14 karma

It sounds familiar, but I do not have the knowledge on what exactly that is no.

neelix847 karma

OP, please check it out! It’s fantastic. I was in Hospice before I transitioned to the other side in the medical examiner field and I love the death positive movement.

Baelliin4 karma

I'll definitely check it out, it sounds very familiar.

Duke_Arutha18 karma

How does one even get into that line of work? And would you recommend it to anyone?

Baelliin95 karma

Currently I am a college student. I was actually working at Walmart in the TLE (automotive) department for a short time before this job, until I quit because it was so horrendous. I found the job on Facebook actually, browsing through a job listing group. So really, it was just by chance that I stumbled upon it. I would definitely recommend the job, as it is EXTREMELY easy, mostly driving from place to place and for a really good pay (although my company itself is starting to get kinda bad to it's employees). The job is very specific though, and there are very few people that I can see doing it, with most people in my company only lasting a month or so if that. You have to be able to be physically fit enough to move (mostly just pulling/sliding) bodies, clean cut, have good people skills, and able to handle constantly being around dead bodies. It can get really hard being around grieving families, but I love my job and I feel like I'm doing a real service to the world, knowing that I'm giving the deceased and their loved ones the best care possible.

Duke_Arutha39 karma

An unsung hero, it sounds like. I must admit, I've never thought about it before today

Baelliin29 karma

Thank you! Its definitely a fulfilling job, although there are quite a few in my company that I'm sure don't care much for what they do. I know that if a family was attended to by someone else in my company or even a funeral home, there is a good chance that they would not receive very good service. The guys that trained me cared a lot about their work, so I was trained to be very precise and respectful, whereas some other employees are very sloppy and rude.

ellismai30 karma

My stepdad recently passed away and my mom speaks EXTREMELY highly of the people who came to transport his body to the funeral home. They were incredibly respectful and patient and made a difficult situation easier on everyone. Thank you for what you do!

Baelliin13 karma

Thank you very much! I love my work, and it feels great knowing that I'm providing a valuable service to the community.

havereddit2 karma

although my company itself is starting to get kinda bad to it's employees

And your photo suggests your employer is SCI

Baelliin5 karma

Well thats a piece of paperwork for the corporate funeral homes. We have contracts with both private homes, and SCI (corporate) funeral homes, each with their respective paperwork forms.

A_Feathered_Raptor17 karma

I'm looking to make a career change. And with all the baby boomers knocking on heaven's door, I figure I can handle the business of death.

Do you own the business? If so, how'd you start it up? And if not, how'd you get the job?

Baelliin15 karma

I found the job browsing through a job listing group on facebook. It's currently family owned and managed by a woman and her son and his wife. From what I've heard, they bought it from another man a few years ago, but I have no clue as to how it was started or whatnot.

mcman1213 karma

Do you know what happens to someone’s things? I had a relative who died and was left in his house for days until a neighbor called because of the small and the cartoon on the roof. I always wondered what happened to all his stuff. They apparently never found any next of kin and technically I’m not kin any more (he was my stepdad but he and my mom had long been divorced).

Edit: carrion not cartoon!

Baelliin11 karma

I know that we don't take any jewelry or any belongings with us. We always remove valuables and either give it to the family or have a deputy witness us put it on a dresser or whatnot. In regards to what happens to that, I would have no clue, thats delving more into wills and legal matters, rather than the funerary side of it.

LogicalTimber11 karma

So, how do you physically get the body wrapped up and onto the gurney? It seems like it'd be rather difficult for one person to do without, erm, manhandling the deceased.

Baelliin23 karma

Its definitely a lot of manhandling. So basically for hospitals/hospices its a one man job, and the deceased is always going to be on a hospital bed with a pad, diaper, and laying on a bedsheet. For that, we basically (after paperwork and ankle tag), wrap the sheet around them from underneath, tying it off if possible around the arms for the most stability. Then, with the gurney locked and against the bed, you can either slide the body board under them by rolling them, or you can pull them onto the gurney. I prefer to just pull them over (move feet over first, then slide the body onto the gurney), but if family is present then it sometimes looks better to use the body board. Now for residentials, its always a two man job every time, as you never no where the body is (most times on the floor or bed, may require lifting). Now for this, assuming their in bed, you can either use the sheet on the bed or one of our white sheets that we get from the hospitals/hospices. Most times we prefer to use the sheet under them, as it limits the amount of movement (looks better for the family), but some families want to keep the bedsheets so it just depends. If theyre on the floor or other such place, we basically just get the sheet under them, and two man carry the body to the gurney, setting it up as close as possible. Either residential or hospital, once once on the gurney we strap them in with the three gurney straps to keep them secure, put the cover over, drape them with the American flag if a veteran, load them in the truck and head to the funeral home.

monarch173311 karma

Do you keep flags on hand for that purpose?

Baelliin12 karma

Yes. I have 3 American flags in my truck (1 on each gurney, and 1 extra). Its really one of my favorite parts of the job, as I usually show the family how to drape them (stars over the heart), and let them do it together. It makes it really special for the family, and honorable for the person. Sadly you can't always know if a person is a veteran (usually when they live alone is when the information is unknown), but we try to look for pictures on the walls or whatnot to see if they were a veteran.

rtwoctwo10 karma

Across the street from my office is a retirement home.

Across the street from the retirement home (diagonal from my office) is a funeral home.

I've often wondered if that was intentional.

It also makes me wonder: what's the longest / shortest transport you've done?

Baelliin10 karma

Very likely that was intentional, makes it easy for the funeral home to get business, or perhaps both are owned by the same company. My longest transport was down to the Tampa airport. Occasionally families want their loved ones shipped to them if they live elsewhere, so we take it down to the airport from the funeral home in a cargo crate to the airport loading dock. The airport is about 1.5 hours away from me, and then its 1.5 hours back. Theres also a consideration for how long it takes to go tp and pick up at the funeral home, drop off at airport, and return to funeral home with the paperwork. The airport call I went on probably took about 5 hours in total from the time I left my house, to the time I got home. My shortest call was probably only about an hour or so, as it was about 15 minutes away from me, and the funeral home was right in the town I live in on my way back home. On average, most calls tend to be about 2 hours long or so.

Zeno_The_Alien10 karma

Hey fellow body mover! I used to do this job. I worked for a company that had a contract with the medical examiners office too, so I got to see a lot of murders and suicides.

Here's my question - do you plan on making a career in the field of cadavers? If not, how did you get into this? If so, in what capacity?

Cheers! And here's to hoping for a slow day at work.

Baelliin10 karma

I'm currently planning on going into IT work, but I'm pretty open to anything really. I saw the job ad in a facebook job group and I got hired fairly quickly.

RES_KnowsYourSins9 karma

What is your favorite zombie movie?

Baelliin13 karma

That's an impossible question honestly, as theres so many different subgenres. Are we talking fast tough zombies? Slow shamblers? Demonic undead? Parasites? If I had to ultimately pick only one, I would probably go with Shaun of the Dead or Army of Darkness as theyre hilarious (Army of Darkness more just because of how campy it is). For a more serious answer, probably Day of the Dead, anything Romero really is pretty good imo.

AwkwardRN8 karma

  1. Do you work as a team?
  2. What is the pay?
  3. Do you ever pick up from morgues?
  4. What is the most awkward experience you’ve ever had?
  5. Are you able to safely protect yourself from those decomposing bodies you were mentioning?

Baelliin27 karma

  1. On hospital/hospice calls its a 1 man job (nurses will always help you tho if you need it), and all residentials are 2 man jobs, with nurses/police available to assist if need be.
  2. Im currently making about $600 every two weeks. Doesnt sound like much, but I legit sit at home most of the time, and I'm also a college student with multiple scholarships (good grades and clubs and all that) that pay for most of my school, so I'm saving close to $1000 every month.
  3. Yes. Usually from the hospital morgues, more common than hospital rooms most of the time actually. Sometimes we make trips to the Medical Examiners office to pick up a body, but thats pretty rare.
  4. Most awkward experience probably was actually working with one of the bad employees. He was really sloppy the whole time, not following procedures or doing paperwork right, so I kept having to fix what he was doing in front of the grieving family, making us look really really bad.
  5. Not really lol. I wish I could say yes, but the company really doesn't take care of us very well. After complaining a bit, we got some basic face masks and aprons, but for the decomps I had done, we really should have had full on body suits in my opinion. I always keep heavy rubber gloves stocked up for decomps, and I nab whatever safety stuff I can from funeral homes/hospitals (they honestly dont mind us taking latex gloves, sheets, pillows, copying paper, etc as our company doesnt provide any of it really and we do a good job for all those places).

downwithwto8 karma

Do you ask them what station they want to listen to or do you just highway to hell on repeat?

Baelliin18 karma

I thought about considering asking the families what the deceased's favorite music was to play it on the way but that seems a bit awkward. Mostly I just blast whatever comes up on my phone's music library. I listen to basically anything, but mostly Heavy Rock like System of a Down and Rob Zombie and 90's Rap like Wu Tang and NWA. Not sure if my passengers like my taste or not, but they never complain.

thisisnotacat8 karma

Are you on call? I know you said you work nights, but when you come on your shift do you have a list of people to go pick up, or do you sit at home/at office and wait on a call?

Baelliin22 karma

Its a bit of an odd job in terms of how it works with pay/shifts. The full time guys are on call 24/6, getting paid for the hours that they are on a call (from the time they get a call from our dispatch center to when they drop off the body). However I came into the company just as they were changing stuff up, and I got a part time job, although its a better deal than full time. I work 36 hours a week, three 12 hour shifts a week. However, i get paid for the full 36 that I am scheduled for. This means that regardless of how many calls I get, I get paid regardless. So some nights like last night, I'm out on calls most of it, but I had one week that I only worked for about 2 hours, and got paid for 36. It just depends, but any job that you can get paid to be at home (I usually either sleep or even better since I'm in college, homework time) doing whatever you want is definitely a keeper. All I really have to do is be available during the hours I'm working (have to be available to be ready and on the way within 20 minutes, so no going out to eat or shopping or anything) and then go on any calls that I get. For the full time guys, its kinda an iffy situation whether the job is worth it, as they basically give up their whole life being on call 24/6.

thisisnotacat9 karma

That's cool! Like a month ago I 1/2 jokingly mentioned to my husband that I wanted to start a business transporting bodies, but the more I began to think about it, the more creeped out I got. I envy you. Keep up the good work!

Baelliin12 karma

Thank you! It's definitely an interesting job, creepy but fulfilling.

neelix848 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA! I work in the medical examiner field. It’s interesting to see how everyone does it differently. We currently don’t do body transport whatsoever. Once we release a body from a scene, the on-call funeral home will come remove them (we have two funeral homes that alternate) and often we examine the decedent more at the funeral home. I think it would save our funeral home partners a lot of time to use a third party. My favorite question that people ask me is, what’s the worst smell? Decomps are an obvious choice of course (I’ll never get used to the smell), but I also had a necrotic bowel jump out at me during an autopsy and I almost lost my lunch. And I pride myself on having a stomach made of steel. I shampooed my nostrils that night.

Baelliin11 karma

Of course, and thank you for the work you do! Personally I try to use some Vick's vaporub under my nostrils when dealing with a smelly one, but hell that doesnt even do much. Better than nothing I suppose.

Zeno_The_Alien6 karma

I had a decomps testicles explode all over my feet the first night on the job. That was the worst smell ever.

MetalIzanagi6 karma

Jesus christ. What can you even do at that point? Just wash up and try to forget that it happened?

Zeno_The_Alien5 karma

I had a Tyvek suit on, so after I delivered him to the M.E.'s office, I just took it off and went about my business. Cleaning the van was the hard part. He was too big to properly fit in a body bag, so it didn't close properly, and he leaked all over the place. By the way, I don't know about other places, but the body bags we got were cheap. Not these sweet black leather ones you see in the movies. These were damn near paper, and easy to tear.

MetalIzanagi7 karma

That sounds unsanitary as heck, damn. You'd think body bags would be something a company that deals in stiffs wouldn't skimp on.

Zeno_The_Alien7 karma

Tyvek suits are made of the same material. Also, our company didn't supply them, they were supplied by the medical examiners office as part of the contract. High quality body bags are kind of a pipe dream though. They are single use items like paper plates. It's almost impossible for a company to make a high quality body bag and remain profitable.

Baelliin6 karma

This exactly. My company only permits us to use body bags for decompositions. Using a body bag for every slightly leaky body would get you fired pretty quickly (or at least cut off all your body bag supplies). I stock up on plastic liners from the funeral homes and use those if theyre leaking. Not great, but it keeps the gurney clean.

havereddit8 karma

I've heard that people are beginning to put "do not use SCI" as a clause in their wills due to perceptions that the company has low moral standards when it comes to up-selling, overcharging, etc. Is this valid in your opinion?

Baelliin11 karma

I wouldn't really know about their business practices honestly, as it doesnt much pertain to my job. I do personally know owners of the private funeral homes, as I have met them in person and from what I've heard from the community, they are really great people. I suppose if I had to choose myself, I would probably go with the private funeral homes too, the people are just so much more attentive and caring seeming.

Spamwarrior8 karma

Do you have to do any cleanup in the case of a violent death? What does that entail for you?

Baelliin18 karma

So far I have yet to be involved in any violent deaths or crime scenes. Generally cases like that, to my knowledge, are handled strictly by the Medical Examiner's office and police the whole way. One of my coworkers told me that he had to transport bones and also pieces from a scene that he was convinced was a serial killing. Apparently workers of my company around the cities tend to go to car crashes as well, walking down the road with a body bag, collecting pieces. Generally the process I assume would be the same as most. We work with the sheriff's department regularly when doing residential calls, and we have a great relationship with them, so they're always there to give us a run down on the situation and help us if they can.

mushbo7 karma

I used to work in a hospice where we had at least 1 pass a week, I have always wanted to ask the guys who pick up, have you ever dropped one?

The folks we had didn't weigh much, have you ever had one that you needed extra help with cause of the weight?

Baelliin13 karma

Its company policy that whenever a person is over 300 pounds, its a two man job, regardless if its a residential or hospital. We had one lady that was probably 350 or so that took about 3 guys to carry, and the decomp I mentioned above took my coworker and I along with a deputy to get onto the gurney. That was also the only time I've ever kinda dropped one, in which the decomp body was so big it rolled off the gurney twice trying to strap it on.

mushbo8 karma

Well keep up the good work cause not a lot of people can do what you do.

Working at the hospice I've seen them come and go.

Baelliin5 karma

Thank you! I really love the job. As long as my company doesnt get too bad in its treatment of its employees then it should be great to get me through most of college, although the company seems to be going downhill quickly.

5ilverMaples7 karma

Ever seen a ghost?

Baelliin7 karma

Surprisingly no. Maybe because I'm too busy going over all the paperwork associated with the job, as it seems like there should be more creepy stuff at the funeral homes. There are a few funeral homes that are definitely creepy af, especially since I work at night. Some of them I don't feel comfortable at all at, I always feel like I'm being watched or something. Theres a couple times that exterior doors have shut themselves and whatnot, of course from the wind/uneven ground but of course your mind immediately thinks ghost. I'm definitely always on the lookout though, I suppose its a matter of time.

KubrickIsMyCopilot7 karma

Do you find yourself doing recreational activities of any sort more often than other people in order to avoid thinking about your job?

Baelliin19 karma

Not at all actually. I've always been pretty desensitized to a lot of stuff (whether this be from growing up with horror movies and video games or if its just how I am personality wise) so my job doesn't really bother me. The first few calls I had were a little shocking, but honestly now it doesn't bother me at all. The only thing that gets me a bit is when I see spouses sobbing and clinging to their husband/wive's body, it makes me think about my girlfriend every single time, and how much I care for her and how destroyed I would be if something were to happen to her.

KubrickIsMyCopilot5 karma

Have you had any moments that made you seriously consider quitting?

Baelliin7 karma

Not at all. The first couple calls I was pretty nervous and skeptical if I could do it, as I was so shocked, but once I got over that I was good. I love my job, I cant say there's any reason I'd quit, as long as my pay doesnt get messed with or anything. If I have a long night and I'm tired af and get another call thats another hour away or something then yeah I'm miserable a bit but it's nothing ever worth quitting over.

Kflynn13376 karma

Ever lost one..or gone to pickup and not found one?

Baelliin5 karma

Not yet, although I have heard of employees picking up the wrong body or taking it to the wrong funeral home, either by honest mistake or just negligence to double check tags. Of course, they didn't keep their jobs after that, but no never lost one or anything. That would be pretty bad.

Sxty84 karma

Have you been at it long enough that it just seems like a normal cargo delivery job?

How often do you have to meet the friends/family of the deceased? That sounds like it would be the only real difficult part of that job.

Baelliin17 karma

I've only honestly been at the job for about 3 months or so myself, and although I'm pretty desensitized at this point, it's still kinda a weird and uncomfortable job. Generally though, yeah it is basically a pretty normal delivery job all in all.

About half my calls are homes, and half are hospitals. Generally there is never family at the hospital/hospice when I go there, most likely due to the late times that I work. For homes however, I am always in direct contact with the family, or neighbors if no family is available. A sheriff's deputy or nurse is also there to witness the scene and confirm the death, but there is almost always at least a spouse to the deceased present. I have to sit down with the family to get all the information first (name, birth, doctor, next of kin, veteran status, signature, etc) before putting the body onto the gurney, so it's definitely a difficult situation having to console, as well as get information from a grieving family member. Generally it's only a few members, if not just a spouse present, but I've been to a few calls where they have a few dozen people present (which is very very difficult). It's definitely the part of the job that requires real people skills, but I find it gratifying to know that I personally am making the family feel comforted and consoled by taking the absolute best care of their loved one, even if it is just the tiniest bit of relief.

Sxty812 karma

I have a couple EMT friends. They deal with a lot of the same things. It is a difficult job emotionally. You are providing a good and necessary service. Thank you for doing a job that many can't.

Baelliin12 karma

Thank you, I really appreciate it :)

goatonastik4 karma

What's your official job title? or are there different titles for the same job in other companies?

Baelliin8 karma

My official job title is Transport Technician. I don't know really of any other companies like ours, although I know they exist, I wouldn't know what their titles would be.

NerdyDirtyCurvy4 karma

I'm the office manager at a funeral home, and work with transfer staff and often deal with deceased and cremated remains myself. It's quite the line of work isnt it! Nothing quite like it. My question is - have you found, like I have, that funeral/death related staff have a morbid and hilarious sense of humor?

Baelliin3 karma

Oh they definitely do. No one I have really met has been super sad or creepy or anything. Theyre all super neat and usually pretty cheerful people who seem to really love their line of work.

dfmorden3 karma

Doing some work for Dignity Memorial I see?

Baelliin3 karma

Haha yeah. We have contracts with both Dignity and the private funeral homes. They both kinda hate that we play both sides, as they are in direct competition, but they just have to deal with it.

Negrocuga3 karma

Have you ever had a case where you had grieving family members hop up on your gurney to stop you from taking their loved one?

Also, how much do you enjoy it when you get held up because family members on site say that there's someone else that wants to be present as you remove the body?

Baelliin6 karma

Not that extreme, no. The most extreme case was a woman literally scream-crying in a foreign language. I've had a few people say that yeah, luckily thats only happened a few times.

RDBlack3 karma

Do you hate us tissue bank workers?

We know what we do is an inconvenience a lot of the times, but we also don't really have a lot of time to work with.

Either way, you guys rock. Thanks for doing what you do and accommodating us.

Baelliin3 karma

I honestly have never worked with a tissue bank worker really. I know sometimes that calls get held of until the tissue bank workers do their part, but thats about it. Everyone has their job to do, and its just part of the process so I would never have any ill feelings for you guys. Thank you for your service as well!

rav-age3 karma

Do you receive any complaints?

Baelliin9 karma

Never. I know some of the other members of the staff that arent trained as well do, but my county takes our job seriously and makes sure never to be sloppy in how we work. Theres actually a funeral home in my town that specifically asks for me and a few others only, because they dont like the other employees in the company due to their sloppy work.

InquisitiveCigar2 karma

Comment and a question. My grandfather (Dad’s Dad) was a funeral home director for many years. As such, my Dad had to work for him. One of those tasks was going to pick up the body from the deceased’s home. My Dad is in his late 60’s now and says that after all these years, he can still, and will never forget, the smell of decomposing human. Any horror stories? (Apologies if you’ve already answered this question.)

Baelliin3 karma

The worst one was a 300+ pound decomp in a hoarder house. I detailed more about it above, but yeah the smell is absolutely horrible. There's nothing like it. I've never thrown up doing my job, but I gagged a lot trying to handle that call.

champbob2 karma

Has this affected any views on religion that you had?

Baelliin7 karma

I'm sure for others that it probably has, but for me personally no. I'm personally agnostic, so I don't tend to think much on religion (aside from the study of it which i find super interesting). Oddly enough, religion has very little involvement in my work. Of course families usually will reference their loved one in a better place or say a prayer, but besides that the job has little involvement, we don't even collect that information (which I'm surprised by as it is immensely important for the funeral homes). The only real factor it has on my job is that we are not permitted to wear the color red, as in some cultures/religions it is seen as disrespectful.

myweightisntright2 karma

What are some little known things about dead bodies ?

Baelliin18 karma

The one thing I can think of thats probably the weirdest is that they can moan. When youre strapping down the body to the gurney, it pushes air out which literally makes the dead body moan like a zombie. It's creepy as hell.

hereforginger2 karma

Do you enjoy this job ?

Baelliin12 karma

I absolutely love it. It's super easy, most night I get paid just to be on call at home and to never get called out, and I feel like I'm doing something really important for my community. I used to work as a cook and at walmart, and both are just horrible compared to this.