Ever since the coronavirus pandemic started, many of us have heavily relied on a UPS delivery package driver for our essentials. While we’re all safe at home, these diligent workers are rendering overtime work to cater to the increasing demand for deliveries. Needless to say, they’ve made our time in quarantine a lot easier.
Gregory Watkins Sr. has been working for UPS since 1995. For the past 13 years, he’s been driving in Smithtown, New York, on Long Island – his assigned route. Working on the same area for so long would make one wonder if he ever tires of it, but apparently, Gregory feels the opposite. In fact, he has embraced not only the location but also the people in it. Because of its wonderful residents, going to work every day was a delight for him.
“I like what I do, and just being in that area and knowing so many people in that area just makes everything great for me,” he told ABC News.
These days, the father of four has been picking up extra shifts to help out during the pandemic. He’s been working longer hours and was around so much, that the neighborhood he was serving began to notice.
“During the pandemic, we noticed he was working later hours, six days a week, while we were all safe at home, and we just wanted to do something to say thank you,” Linda Muratore told WABC. “He always had a smile on his face. He’d go out of his way to be extra helpful, carrying extra packages. So, just being the person that he is and us knowing him for so long, we just wanted to do something to give back.”
Linda and the rest of the community planned a surprise for the beloved UPS delivery package driver. A resident sent him a text message asking him to come right away for some assistance. As usual, the always-ready-to-help Gregory obliged. He immediately drove towards the area where he was needed. However, an unexpected scene greeted him upon his arrival. He saw several cars lined up on the street and a gathering of people, and he worried he won’t be able to get his vehicle through.
“I was thinking, ‘Am I gonna be able to get my truck through,’” Gregory recalled. “So, as I started approaching, that’s when everybody started putting up the signs and cheering. I was like, ‘Oh my goodness. Is this for me?’ And I was just blown away by the whole thing.”
As he drove down the street, neighbors on his route cheered his name. Others held up signs thanking him for his excellent service.
A community member captured the special moment on video, and in it, one resident said, “You’re an essential worker, but you’ve always been essential to us. You know our families . . . we know your family. We adore you and we just wanted to say thank you.”
Feeling overwhelmed by all the attention and gifts, Gregory got out of his truck and spoke to the crowd.
“It’s been a pleasure to be in this area, and to get to know everybody here,” he said. “I’m watching your kids grow. I’m watching them start to drive.”
Gregory also took this opportunity to tell them that he would only be delivering in their area for another two years – an announcement that gained a collective groan from the crowd. However, this sad news didn’t stop the smiles from those people who have experienced Gregory’s kindness.
The UPS delivery package driver couldn’t believe that the community took the time to honor him. He received a plethora of thank you letters and even a potted plant from the neighbors.
“The feeling from everything was just like, I felt loved. I felt cared for. I just felt appreciated,” he said. “I was humbled by the whole situation. Just to think that they did that for me. … It’s an awesome feeling.”
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Watch the residents celebrate their beloved UPS delivery package driver below.