The Ripon Forum

Volume 54, No. 2

May 2020

Delivering Hope With Every Package

By on May 17, 2020


There’s no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a number of unprecedented changes, for individuals and for companies. Most Americans are sheltered in place, and many businesses, local and national, are struggling to survive as a result – developing plans to ensure employee safety, protect customers, and shift manufacturing and operating procedures all weigh heavily on executives and front-line workers alike.  

Changes are happening at UPS, too. For example, we’re no longer requiring signatures for any packages to be delivered, instead using other ways to verify a customer’s identity so that drivers and customers can maintain social distancing measures. We’ve implemented enhanced cleaning procedures in all of our facilities, and our vehicles are being cleaned more often, especially on door handles and other frequent touch points. While some UPSers are able to work from home, most are on the front lines where masks and gloves are available for all employees who are working in facilities or vehicles. 

In addition to protecting and supporting our own employees and customers, we’re also providing resources to community organizations. The UPS Foundation has announced more than $21 million in local aid, and UPS has donated thousands of N95 masks and other supplies to first responders, healthcare workers and other front-line heroes, including local police and fire departments.

Despite these changes, UPS drivers and pilots have been designated as essential services workers, and they continue to deliver critical healthcare supplies and everyday necessities. While some parts of their job are different, these service professionals haven’t waivered in their commitment to world-class customer service – or support for their fellow UPSers.

We all need to work together to knock this thing out as quickly as possible to help other people.

For example, 33-year UPS driver Gina Cribbs out of Ft. Worth, Texas, went to her facility on a day that she wasn’t even working and cleaned more than 70 package cars for her coworkers who would soon be headed out on their routes. 

“I want to do my part to make sure we’re all a little bit safer,” Gina said. “We all need to work together to knock this thing out as quickly as possible to help other people.”

Another UPS driver, Jeff Rardin in South Holland, Illinois, recently assisted with a White House request to transport a large shipment of personal protective equipment (PPE) to a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) distribution site. He talked about what it feels like to answer the call in our country’s time of need.

“These supplies will potentially save someone’s life. And, they’ll help keep this virus from spreading. They’ll protect patients and the health care workers taking care of them. You just can’t put a price on that,” Jeff said. “I’m really excited UPS Freight was called on by the White House to expedite this shipment.” 

UPS driver Steve Lopez out of Long Beach, California, has also talked about what it’s like to deliver during a pandemic – especially to customers who feel like family because he has served the same route for more than two decades.

“I’ve known these people for so many years. I’ve been to their weddings. I’ve been to their birthday parties.” Steve said when he was recently featured on Live With Kelly and Ryan. “One of my friends from the east coast had never heard of a piñata, so for their daughter’s first birthday I actually brought them a piñata so they could knock it out.” 

In a separate video, Steve talked about how important his role is to helping his customers – our communities – get through this crisis.

“We’re not cops, we’re not firemen, we’re not healthcare workers – doctors and nurses – but we are essential to getting people the items that they need dearly,” he said. “I’m not just delivering water and toilet paper. I’m delivering medical supplies, people’s prescription pills. So it makes me feel really proud of the company I work for and what a great job we are doing.” 

Our customers are counting on us, and we’ll keep delivering for them.

Customers and elected officials across the country have also recognized how important UPS’s work is for the economy and for everyday people in these unprecedented times. President Trump even invited UPS Freight driver Charlton Paul to his “Celebrating America’s Truckers” event.

In talking to Fox News about that opportunity, Charlton also discussed what he’s taken away from the experience of delivering to the front lines of a global pandemic. 

“We’re Americans, we’re strong, and when it’s time to stick together, we put all our differences aside and we come together,” Charlton said. “We will win this war against this virus.”

UPS drivers in brown trucks across the country are bringing hope to millions of Americans with every delivery they make. While the coronavirus continues to impact all facets of our everyday lives, one thing hasn’t changed at all: our customers are counting on us, and we’ll keep delivering for them.

Marcel Dubois is the Senior Vice President of UPS Public Affairs and Franklin Center for Global Policy Exchange Board Member

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