Story by Anna-Marie Beard
This is a crazy time of year. So many deadlines. So many activities. So many people. It’s a time when it’s easy to get caught up in all the things you have to do.
The reason for the season is about thinking of other people, so we shop and we wrap and we go and we do but sometimes the craziest thing happens:
Sometimes we run around trying to do “things” for other people… that we don’t have time to do things for other people. We can get caught up in the “hustle and bustle” as they say.
One spot that can feel the brunt of all our hustle and scurry are the companies whose responsibility is delivering all those packages filled with hours of time (and money) we’ve spent filling them up—and get it here by Merry Christmas.
And the people who feel the weight of allllll of this (in more ways than one) are the delivery folks—the people—who get those packages to our doorsteps.
These are the women and men essential workers who, ON TOP OF the usual holiday pressures, have to now deal with stuck barges and delayed goods and the tangled web of our last-minute shopping.
They’re working long hours. Dealing with Santas and Grinches and grannies and sugar-plumbed kids… …all putting on the pressure to “deliver those boxes ON TIME!”
It’s a crazy time of year. Recently our local UPS hero took time out of a time when there’s no time and gifted our Tobin with an experience I’m sure he will always remember:
Tobin our sweet nonverbal son on the autism spectrum, has been obsessed with UPS for the past year.
It started when he was waiting for a box of black and grey crayons to come in. Brian kept telling him they would be here on April 24. Tobin would type “crayon brown truck” on his talker, and Brian would tell him April 24. Over and over. This evolved into Tobin constantly typing “Brown Truck April 24,” which led to drawing brown truck after brown truck on paper, and then making finger drawings on the floor and on the windows—even rolling pieces of pancake into pieces to make his own pancake UPS sculpture at breakfast!
Posted by Anna-MarieandBrian Beard on Friday, 10 December 2021
But Tobin’s UPS obsession became really real when he got to actually step onto a UPS truck! This past summer, our local driver, Josh, was delivering a package to us, AT THE SAME TIME as I was waiting for my parents to come and kill a snake for me. (We live by the woods. I’m terrified of snakes. Brian was at work. Also, I’m terrified of snakes–did I mention that?)
Anyway, Josh pulled up in his truck to deliver and was walking up the driveway, package in hand, at the same time as my parents were pulling up and I was momentarily distracted. Tobin took immediate advantage of the moment and RAN onto the parked “brown truck.” I’m running after Tobin, grabbing him and guiding him off the truck… and he is (of course) laughing. Josh starts walking back to his truck, and there I am, holding a laughing Tobin, and straight up YELLING at my parents, “The snake is up there! In the garage! Hurry!”
Just your typical evening at the Beard residence.
So my parents are running to the garage and Tobin is laughing on the steps of the truck and I, meeting Josh for the very first time, am trying to explain how much Tobin loves his truck. I’m saying something like, “Hi! I’m so sorry my son hopped in your truck! He loves ‘brown truck UPS!’” And Tobin is squirming to get on the truck while I’m holding him. Josh is smiling, taking off his sunglasses and saying “hello” to Tobin. It was summer and I’m sweating, trying to hold Tobin back from walking back on the truck.
He says something like, “Hey, Tobin. You’re welcome to look around if you want!” And I say something like “He would LOVE that, but my parents actually JUST ARRIVED to kill a snake. I’m terrified of snakes, and I really need to go show them where it is.” And I sweaty-smile or something and Josh is smiling at Tobin and Tobin is squirmy-laughing to go to the back. And I rush a goodbye and lift Tobin off the truck to go see about a snake…
That was the first encounter with the UPS Man. Tobin’s drawings continue and he continues to type “brown truck UPS” on his talker, and apparently, his teachers at school bring him out if they know Brown Truck is there.
A few days ago—during this crazy time of the year—Josh took time he didn’t have to gift our son with the very best. We heard the doorbell ring, and there he stood, brown package in hand, filled with brown hats, a brown uniform (with his name on it!) and his very own Brown Truck! It made his day. And it made our season.
I’ve had a couple of ideas that have been nudging my heart for a few people around me. Simple ideas that won’t take much to do, but in the past when this has happened, I’ve often ended up putting so much effort into meeting the “giving deadlines” that I’ve often gone through the whole season only to realize on New Year’s Day that I didn’t do the nudge.
Sometimes we need a reminder. To stop. To listen. To take the time to take it all in. To find our unique way of blessing another—and actually doing it.
Thank you, Josh, for the reminder of the gift of kindness. May we each pay it forward and change the world.