Saturday, December 14, 2013

My UPS Christmas Story

You may not know this, but I worked for UPS from 2004 to 2012. I started as an inbound customer service agent, promoted up through the ranks, and eventually ended up helping manage the customer side of their social media. I also handled calls and letters for the CEO and management committee. 

As you can imagine, Christmas at UPS is a really busy time. On the customer service side especially, it was a very difficult time. Sometimes packages don't make it on time. Sometimes we missed Christmas. Around this time every year, after hours and hours of very angry, and sometimes cruel, people calling to explain how I personally had ruined Christmas, I would declare my faith to humanity lost. Usually it was around the 20th of December. But one year, a gentlemen called me to say thank you and completely turned my December around. Here's his story as best as I can retell it. 

The man, whose name I don't recall, had a special needs son who stayed home during the day. One of the things that brought his son joy was seeing his UPS driver bringing a package to the door. Whenever he knew a package was coming, he would watch out the window all morning for the big brown truck to pull up. When he would see the driver arrive and get out of his truck, the boy would run to the door and wait for the driver. Then, caring very little about the package itself, the boy would high-five the driver. His father, who worked from home and got a lot of packages, said that that the high five from his driver was the highlight of his son's week. 

Well, like I mentioned before, things get really busy this time of year at UPS. Depending on the route, a driver's package load can double. Everyone works overtime, and everyone pitches in, but sometimes the personal touch gets left behind. 

Very, very busy.

The boy was expecting Christmas presents from his grandmother, and had spent the entire morning looking out the window. His knew the driver usually came around eleven, and when one o' clock rolled around his nose was still poking up against the cold glass.  His dad was working on his computer in the living room, and would continually glance over at his son. After awhile he noticed that he was shuffling back and forth. 

"Do you need to go to the bathroom?"

"I don't want to miss him." 

"Just go. You won't miss him."

"OK!" And his son ran to the bathroom as fast as he could.  

The dad turned back to his desk to finish what he was working on. No more than ten seconds later he heard a thump outside the door, not the knock he was used to. He ran to the window and saw the back of his driver, sprinting back to the brown truck and driving away. His heart sank and he turned around just as his son came tripping back into the room.

"Did he come?"

The dad couldn't find the words. He knew it was a silly thing, but he also knew how long his son had been looking out the window. He knew it wasn't silly to him. 

"Yeah buddy. We missed him. But he left the package."

Turning away from his son to avoid the hurt look in his eyes, the dad opened the door to grab the box. That is when he saw this. And shortly after is when he called me to say thank you. 

This is my recreated version of the box. 

This is, and always will be my favorite Christmas story. Not just because it pulled me out of a dark December spiral. There is another reason why I find myself coming back to it year after year.  What someone finds special about this time of year, or about any time of year really, may not be what I find special. For some people it is the birth of Jesus. For others it is the miracle of oil lasting 8 days. For some it is the crazy shopping and the gift giving/receiving, or just being with their family. 

This story reminds me that the best way to celebrate Christmas, for me at least, is to figure out what other people find special and celebrate that with them, not try to change it. That driver knew that the kid didn't really care what was in the box. He knew all the kid wanted was a high five, and he found a way to give it to him. That's what I want for Christmas. A way. 

I love you guys. And I hope you have a great and merry everything. 

Love, Dad (John)

P.S. We're still having fun on the Ask Your Dad Facebook Page. If you haven't yet, you should join us.


  1. This made me tear up. I definitely miss the days I actually got to save Christmas there. It made it all bearable.

  2. As the parent of 2 'special kids', this story made me cry. So sweet! Its the little things, and its good to know there are still awesome people out there! My new favorite Christmas Story. <3

  3. John, thank you so much for this story! I needed it.

  4. I can get behind this message, John. I'd totally vote for it if it was running for President. I might be tempted to vote for a Vice President who qualified with Thoreau's "simplify, simplify!", but I'd vote this one for 1st place: "to figure out what other people find special and celebrate that with them, not try to change it."

  5. This is SUCH a sweet story!! I love it!!!

  6. UPS has some awesomely nice drivers. I worked there for 10 years and they don't come any better.

  7. What a heartwarming story! I may have cried a little. But in a good way. Thanks for sharing!

  8. What a lovely story. I can understand why it made such an impression.
    Btw, I worked for UPS during one holiday season. I did a middle of the night 4hr shift where I packed and unpacked trucks. It was tough and exhausting work.

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