Essential workers were given a raw deal during the COVID-19 pandemic. While many corporations offered bonuses, raises, and other perks during the coronavirus pandemic, it's still crazy to think that there was a large demographic of Americans working jobs that directly exposed them to the disease while many others had the luxury of staying at home to mitigate their potential contact with it.
What's more is that essential workers often have a more concentrated potential exposure to COVID-19, especially delivery drivers who are visiting different homes and businesses and handling packages from folks all over the world (COVID can live on cardboard for up to a day, yikes).
It's no secret that postal services were one of the MVPs of the coronavirus pandemic.
USPS alone saw over a billion new units of mail processed this year alone, and that doesn't even include the uptick in packages from other major delivery services. This is why the residents of the Hallsley neighborhood in Richmond, Va. are celebrating UPS driver Anthony Gaskin as a hero.
Local resident, Patty Friedman had organized a massive thank you along the driver's daily route that involved hundreds of members of the community.
"Through COVID, Anthony has continued working, delivering packages at our doors, record numbers of them, over 180 times to date. I wanted to thank him personally for how much he helped me feel welcome when I moved in during a pandemic. It was terribly lonely and he was always the highlight of my day," Patty told WTVR news.
She continued, "Mentioning this to a few people and the response I got was all I needed to know I was not alone." Anthony was stunned to see the response he received, which included UPS supervisors who also came out to celebrate the extra hard work he had taken on during 2020.
"A humble man, he needed to be coaxed, but eventually, slowly drove his truck down the road while children and adults held up signs, screamed his name, honked their horns, and rang bells," Patty said.
Another neighbor heaped the praise on Anthony's name, "Anthony always smiles, waves, and goes above and beyond to deliver packages with care."
"He makes you feel like a friend when you see him. He brightens our day, whenever he drops off a package, which is frequently at our house! He stands out from ALL other delivery drivers and we love him! Cheers to Anthony! Thank you Anthony for all you do. My 6-year-old daughter hasn't seen either set of grandparents in over a year. This has been very hard on everyone. Many of the packages you deliver are from them. The joy the packages bring makes it worthwhile. Thank you for always delivering them with a kind smile and a friendly wave!"
Another neighbor talked about Anthony's willingness to individually bring joy to everyone's day regardless of how many deliveries he had, "Sometimes he is the only outside face we see during the day. We appreciate his hard work and dedication during the pandemic, which delivered food, supplies, and even holiday gifts to a high-risk family."