Life
UPS driver is met by crowd of neighbors on the street for special ‘thank you’
A customer texted Greg asking him to stop by. Little did he know, the whole neighborhood had come up with a special plan, just for him.
Patricia Lynn
12.23.21

In many communities, there’s a special person in the area that everyone seems to know and love. Perhaps it’s the elderly woman who runs the donut shop, or maybe it’s the friendly garbage collector who’s always lending a hand.

A man named Gregory Watkins Sr. is one of these special people.

Watkins has been a UPS driver for the past 30 years. And for the thoughtful residents of Smithtown, New York, located on Long Island, he has been driving their route for the last 13 of those years.

YouTube Screenshot - USA TODAY
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - USA TODAY

And it seems he is quite content to be there.

He told USA Today,

“As time went on and I got to know everyone—being on the route so long—you know. It became more and more of a pleasure to be in the area.”

In those 13 years, children have been born and he’s watched them grow. And he doesn’t just blow through the neighborhood, he waves to everyone he sees.

Flickr
Source:
Flickr

When the world went into lockdown it meant that work got busier for Watkins.

The pandemic has impacted so many things, most certainly the amount of time we are spending in our homes. And the amount of goods we are having delivered to our homes.

This has placed an added burden on postal services and couriers alike, so in a bid to help out, Watkins started working longer hours. He took on extra shifts, wanting to do whatever he could to help out.

As USA Today puts it,

“Even during the pandemic, Gregory’s dedication to his job never faltered.”

Unsplash - Klára Vernarcová
Source:
Unsplash - Klára Vernarcová

And the neighborhood noticed.

As ABC reports, Linda Muratore told WABC,

“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.”

Clearly, his pleasure with being in the area was noticed. Muratore continues,

“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.”

YouTube Screenshot - USA TODAY
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - USA TODAY

They decided to plan a big surprise.

In line with her wishes, the community got together and planned a surprise for Watkins.

And with good reason. Muratore wasn’t the only one who felt compelled to do something.

YouTube Screenshot - USA TODAY
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - USA TODAY

Christine Sacco told USA Today,

“When we first moved to the neighbourhood and I had a new baby, I remember my formula used to get delivered to the house and the boxes would be heavy. He’d be like, ‘No, Chris! I’ll bring them in the house for you.’ Even before all this [coronavirus], he goes above and beyond for all of our families.”

So they all prepared for the big surprise and Sacco’s husband asked him to drop by their street at a certain time.

And of course, he did.

YouTube Screenshot - USA TODAY
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - USA TODAY

Watkins was amazed by what he saw.

As he pulled onto the street and saw all the cars lined up, he was a little concerned at first. He told ABC,

“I was thinking, ‘Am I gonna be able to get my truck through,'” he said. “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.”

YouTube Screenshot - USA TODAY
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - USA TODAY

Greeted with neighbors lining the street with signs and flowers thanking him for all he had done and continued to do, he told them he was “blessed” to know them.

YouTube Screenshot - USA TODAY
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - USA TODAY

As he described it later,

“I felt loved. I felt cared for. I just felt appreciated. I was humbled by the whole situation. Just to think that they did that for me… It’s an awesome feeling.”

And as Muratore concluded,

“These are the type of people we should be celebrating.”

YouTube Screenshot - USA TODAY
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - USA TODAY

Everyday heroes are all around our communities and they deserve our gratitude for what they do. In this case, the UPS driver was shown just how much he is loved and appreciated, but in a really big way.

Press play on the video below to see more of the neighborhood’s celebration for Watkins!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By Patricia Lynn
hi@sbly.com
Patricia Lynn is a senior writer at Shareably. Patricia is based out of San Francisco and can be reached at hi@shareably.net.
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