How I Lost 5 Lbs. in One Week as a UPS Holiday Driver Helper

Learn what it takes to deliver in time for Christmas.

It’s been said that you don’t really know someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. Well, now that I’ve walked a mile (quite literally) in the shoes of a UPS driver helper, I can say that the work UPS drivers, loaders, and seasonal helpers did to deliver a hassle-free holiday was truly awe-inspiring.

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You don’t really know someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.

Here at “Big Brown,” it’s normal for rookies such as myself to help out in the operations and hubs during the holidays (in my case the week before Christmas) to get a firsthand experience of “peak”, our busiest time of the year.

Task One: The Sort

I went out to a large UPS hub just outside of Atlanta. My first task was helping with the sort, a well-orchestrated process that moves packages though a labyrinth of conveyor belts and onto the proper truck. Through a seamless combination of well-trained people and cutting-edge technology, tens of thousands of packages are organized by zipcode and address and are placed into hundreds of different trucks for delivery.

Task Two: Deliveries

As I rode out for the first time, I got to know my driver and familiarized myself with the DIAD computer UPS drivers use to help coordinate and confirm deliveries. It quickly became apparent that similar to the sort, delivering a UPS route was a complex blend of technology and people.

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My muscles were aching, my arms and legs were hurting.

While the DIAD is able to tell you how many packages are in the back, what address is coming up, give GPS coordinates, relay messages from the hub, and deliver training materials, the people at UPS are what makes the difference.

The driver I was with had been on the same route for over 20 years and had a real sense of friendship and familiarity with everyone on the route. “Next stop will be a white house around the corner. Here’s a dog biscuit, a little corgie is going to run out from behind the shed on the right—he won’t bite though. The package is for Susan, she likes them to be left behind the potted plant on the back porch.” This is the type of personal service our drivers have become so well-known for.

Task Three: Pickups

Once we had successfully delivered what felt like a few million of the over 20 million packages scheduled to be delivered worldwide that day, we began our pickups. Stopping by just a few The UPS Store locations on our route, we managed to fill the truck back to capacity. My muscles were aching, my arms and legs were hurting, and all I wanted to do was give my poor feet a nice long soak.

And so this continued for an entire week, firing on all cylinders to deliver an on-time Christmas. During my time as a seasonal helper I managed to work off nearly five pounds and I gained a ton of new knowledge about UPS people and operations. It was a great overall experience, and I can’t wait to do again next year. goldbrown2

Interested in becoming a UPS driver?  Visit our UPS jobs website.

Andrew Hurd

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