Day in the Life: AMA Service Vehicle Operator

By AMA Staff

For Rob Casson, no two days are exactly alike. As a Service Vehicle Operator (SVO), he might find himself giving a member a boost, or he could be responding to a vehicle struck on the Anthony Henday in the middle of a blizzard.

The work brings Casson a sense of pride and fulfillment—and even a few laughs—that few other vocations can.

Take, for example, that call from an AMA member asking for assistance. She was pumping gas when her dog managed to hit the power door locks while jumping around inside the car. But before Casson even got his tools out, the dog, still jumping around, hit the unlock button.

A former machinist, Casson has been an SVO with AMA for more than six years, usually putting in 10 hours per shift each working day. And beyond helping members with boosts or tire changes, he also handles priority calls.

Some critical situations require rapid intervention—a baby locked inside a vehicle, for instance—while a less critical, but still urgent, situation would be a vehicle breaking down on a busy highway. The job also comes with certain physical challenges, but it’s nothing Casson can’t handle.

Imagine working in deep snow and it’s minus 30. “Your movement is limited and you’re dragging the winch line, laying down under the vehicle and hooking I tup,” he says. It’s challenges like this that reinforce Casson’s confidence for the next obstacle down the road. And he finds it rewarding to be able to help AMA members in times of need.

As an SVO, Casson must also be aware of his surroundings. Every year, there are about 37,500 AMA roadside assistance requests in high-risk locations. SVOs need to be health- and safety-aware at all times—even when they’re off-shift—because staying focused helps them do their job better.

Fortunately, Casson hasn’t had any close calls. “But it’s always in the back of my mind,” he admits.

The best part of the job? His “office” is the city, he gets to meet new people each day, and the team at AMA is “like a family.” And pretty much every call for assistance puts smiles on members’ faces. “They’re happy to see you,” Casson says. “That’s the reason I get out of bed every morning and go do it all over again.”

Check out more Albertans making a difference in people’s lives.