“Stuff like that warms your heart”: Wilmington community wishes UPS driver happy retirement with yard signs

Updated: Sep. 30, 2020 at 10:41 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - When you drive through the Pine Valley neighborhood in Wilmington, you’ll find signs in dozens of yards that read, “Happy Retirement Kevin! Thank you. We will miss you!”

You may be wondering, who is Kevin?

“He is the best that you could ask for in your neighborhood and in your community," said Jamie Craig. Craig, a Pine Valley resident, helped order and distribute the yard signs.

“Went there in the warehouse first and migrated up to driving,” said Kevin Jackson. “Went there for a job... never, in many years, think it would turn into a career. And I’m grateful, grateful, grateful.”

Kevin has worked for UPS in Wilmington since 1989. In those 31 years, he has built relationships with the people that he serves in the community.

“He just goes above and beyond,” said Craig. “He’s thoughtful, and takes that extra step. There were stories of people who said he brought packages in when it was raining and he didn’t want them to get wet. Or helped hide them from the kids at Christmas. Just taking that extra step. And you just don’t always see people who really care about their job and their customers like that.”

Craig says someone in their neighborhood Facebook page posted that they had spoken to Kevin about his retirement. He said that post became flooded with comments saying something had to be done for him. Craig volunteered to organize getting the yard signs. She called AlphaGraphics in the Pine Valley Shopping Center because Kevin delivers there and she thought they maybe knew him.

“I call up there and the owner Rick is one of his buddies from high school,” said Craig. “And it all just kind of fell together. It really just fell together. And it was it was great. And he delivered a huge box of ad signs within the week. And I had people just come in to pick them up. So they were all taken care."

Rick Stinson made over 100 signs that now sit in the yards of those along Kevin’s route.

“Truly, it was an honor,” said Stinson. “Kevin has always been a great guy. He’s always been a good friend.”

Stinson said about five years ago, Kevin’s started delivering to AlphaGraphics and their friendship was rekindled. Kevin said when he saw the signs, it was an emotional moment.

“It was very tough just riding around and seeing the signs,” said Kevin. “Some people I very rarely even see but they made sure of the sign outside and even the homemade ones. And people leaving a little something that the doors and stuff like that... that’s gonna be the biggest thing walking away from the relationship.”

It’s not everyday a community adores their delivery man, let alone be on a first name basis.

“I didn’t know they know my name to be perfectly honest,” said Kevin. “And the little kids remember it more than anything. I forgot what house it was, and for some odd reason, the little child knew my name. And the parents didn’t and they was like, ‘Is your name really Kevin?’ So I’m like, ‘Yes.' Stuff like that warms your heart."

Kevin says it isn’t easy to leave this job after decades and it’s not the work he’ll miss.

“I’m ready to step into another phase of my life,” said Kevin. “Walking away from these relationships and no one is even on the business side. You laugh. They looking forward to seeing you for a little break in their routine. That’ll be probably the biggest thing. Now... getting off the truck. Yeah, I can walk away from that.”

What’s next for Kevin? He says he has enough to do to keep him busy. He does some landscaping on the side and might invest himself into that next year. But Kevin isn’t planning on leaving Wilmington.

“We’ll see each other,” said Kevin. “We’ll definitely see each other. I would just hope that my 31 years can show sticking it out... sticking it out can work.”

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