There is a video being shared around social media about a young boy’s obsession with UPS trucks, and a driver’s warm response. We can totally relate, as our son has a similar obsession, and was the subject of a story on the UPS internal portal. It needs no further explanation — it speaks for itself. Here it is:
Nobody Loves UPS More than Reid Durham
The biggest believer in UPS offers lessons for us all
UPS makes a lot of people happy.
The law partner on the 70th floor smiles when UPS walks in with signed documents that seal a deal. The warehouse manager nods his head when UPS backs to a loading dock with just-in-time inventory. The young lady awaiting her stylish new boots loves seeing a brown package car roll up to her suburban home.
Still, it’s safe to say UPS makes nobody – nobody – any happier than Reid Durham.
Jim Durham, his dad, explains.
“Twenty-three years ago, my son, Reid, was born with birth defects. He came to us with lots of issues, but also this sparkling personality.
“UPS has been an important part of our lives. At an early age, Reid for some reason got very excited whenever a UPS truck came to the house. It was outside the routine of life, not an everyday thing … even though I was a self-employed consultant, and package cars came frequently.
“Every driver who saw Reid running out to the truck engaged him with genuine warmth. And they still do so today, even though Reid is 23 years old.
“I want to thank UPS for running a company with such a great heart.”
Community involvement made personal Reid’s own little heart is something special. He arrived in this world with a twin, Corey, who passed away at three months. Heart defects took Corey’s life and also endangered Reid’s.
When Reid reached seven months, doctors “rebuilt his heart,” says his dad. The surgery took place at Children’s Hospital of Boston, not far from the Durham family residence. Reid came through the risky operation “home free … at least for his heart.”
Other developmental problems remained. Reid’s brain never grew properly, leaving him with multiple issues.
“He doesn’t speak well,” says his dad. “He can’t navigate difficult steps or terrain. He’s almost toddler-like in some ways.”
A toddler-like Reid proved irresistible to the Durhams.
His big brother, Craig, and little sister, Paige, embraced him. Paige is now 18 and towers over Reid, but he still calls his sister “Baby,” the name he gave her when she was born.
Reid’s mother, Karen, did what every great mother does – she poured her love and talents into raising Reid to have the best possible chance for a happy life. So did Jim, supporting the family as a legal industry consultant – he’s a pioneering figure in the marketing of law firms, and a 2010 inductee into the Legal Marketing Association Hall of Fame.
Reid’s special gifts made it easier for the family to deal with his afflictions.
“We’ve all come to accept how he is physically and mentally,” Jim says. “But we never get tired of how joyful Reid is. When he goes to a store, he knows everybody there. He doesn’t know what it is to be in a bad mood. He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body.”
The big heart of UPS What explains Reid’s fascination with UPS?
Give credit where credit is due, to the big hearts of our UPS drivers.
Jim says drivers who showed up when Reid was age three or so made a point to “chat and engage” with the youngster. “As he got a little older and bigger, when a package car stopped by, the driver would walk Reid out to touch it.”
No driver ever seemed too busy to show kindness to the star-struck kid with so much brown in his ice blue eyes.
“Reid once made me walk across a large empty parking lot to a parked UPS truck,” Jim recalls. “I hesitated, because I could see the driver was enjoying a peaceful lunch.
“When that guy got out, he showed not one hint of annoyance. He not only made us feel like we were not bothering him … he took the time to open the back of his truck to let Reid look in.
“My son,” Jim remembers, “squealed with joy.”
Jim once gave important UPS executives a presentation on behalf of a company he represented. At the end of the pitch, he went off script. He told the story of his boy, and he told of Reid’s unconditional love of all things UPS.
“I just wanted to thank UPS,” Jim says. “I got all choked up.”
Jim wasn’t the only one with tears in his eyes. His heartfelt remarks moved the UPS team so much that they sent Reid “two boxes of fabulous UPS paraphernalia, little cars and pens and clothes and all kinds of things,” Jim says.
“Reid still plays with that stuff.”
That UPS bric-a-brac might have been good fun for Reid … but the best was yet to come.
A costume for October When Reid was nine, a UPS employee the family knew retired from the company. He passed along his vest and hat to you-know-who.
“Reid was so excited,” Jim says. “So every year since then to this very day, he has dressed up as the UPS man for Halloween. He even collects his Halloween candy in a UPS express envelope.
“I think that says it all.”
Imagine the little trick-or-treater on your October door step, dressed like a UPS driver and grinning up with the happiest smile a human can give … while holding out a UPS envelope for sweets.
It brings to mind one of the things Jim says about life with his special child: “Every day my heart is warmed and my heart is broken.”
Reid went through Massachusetts public schools, in the special needs curriculum. Today, he attends a special needs adult center that helps him prepare for the best possible life.
Jim Durham watches over his boy and the rest of his family. He puts his Harvard undergrad and Emory University School of Law education to good use with legal marketing, and he writes instructional books on marketing. He also writes motivational books. (See My Father’s Writings)
Wherever he travels, Jim Durham finds he’s never far from a familiar sight that reminds him of his precious son.
“I might be in London,” he says, “and I’ll see a UPS package car.
“I immediately snap a picture to email or text back home. I know how much Reid will love it.”