Staff Sgt. Robert McKevitt, left, was fired from his civilian job after reportedly using a forklift to get candy from a vending machine. (Rodney White/Des Moines Register)
By Clark Kauffman
Copyright 2014 The Des Moines Register
It’s a familiar tableau: an overpriced vending-machine candy bar dangles on a spiral hook, tantalizingly out of reach and refusing to drop.
For most of us, that mini-drama usually ends in defeat. But not for Robert McKevitt of Spirit Lake, whose victory over an uncooperative vending machine ultimately cost him his job.
McKevitt, a staff sergeant in the Iowa National Guard, was working the second shift at Polaris Industries’ warehouse in Milford, Iowa, when he decided to break for a snack last fall.
He says he deposited $1 in a vending machine, selected a 90-cent Twix bar, and then watched as the candy bar crept forward in its slot, began its descent and was abruptly snagged by a spiral hook that held it suspended in midair.
“I was, like, ‘Oh, man,’ ” said McKevitt, 27. “So I put in another dollar, and then it wouldn’t do anything.”
At first, McKevitt’s frustration took the customary route: He banged the side of the machine. He tried rocking it back and forth.