These days, a neighborhood mob would probably make you turn around, not drive straight into it.

That wasn’t the case for Gregory Watkins Sr. He kept on driving.

Watkins has been a UPS driver for the past 30 years. And for the thoughtful residents of Smithtown, New York, located on Long Island, he has been driving their route for the last 13 of those years.

And it seems he is quite content to be there. He told USA Today,

“As time went on and I got to know everyone—being on the route so long—you know. It became more and more of a pleasure to be in the area.”

In those 13 years children have been born and he’s watched them grow. And he doesn’t just blow through the neighborhood, he waves to everyone he sees.

Delivery Deemed an Essential Service


And for the last several months he has been working harder than usual. The pandemic has impacted so many things, most certainly the amount of time we are spending in our homes. And the amount of goods we are having delivered to our homes.

This has placed an added burden on postal services and couriers alike, so in a bid to help out, Watkins has been working longer hours. He’s taken on extra shifts, wanting to do whatever he could to help out.

As USA Today puts it,

“Even during the pandemic, Gregory’s dedication to his job never faltered.”

And the neighborhood noticed.

As ABC reports, Linda Muratore told WABC,

“During the pandemic, we noticed he was working later hours, six days a week, while we were all safe at home, and we just wanted to do something to say thank you.”

Clearly, his pleasure with being in the area was noticed. Muratore continues,

“He always had a smile on his face. He’d go out of his way to be extra helpful, carrying extra packages. So, just being the person that he is and us knowing him for so long, we just wanted to do something to give back.”

A Surprise is Planned


In line with her wishes the community got together and planned a surprise for Watkins.

And with good reason. Muratore wasn’t the only one who felt compelled to do something.

Christine Sacco tells USA Today,

“When we first moved to the neighbourhood and I had a new baby, I remember my formula used to get delivered to the house and the boxes would be heavy. He’d be like, ‘No, Chris! I’ll bring them in the house for you.’ Even before all this [coronavirus], he goes above and beyond for all of our families.”

So they all prepared for the big surprise and Sacco’s husband asked him to drop by their street at a certain time.

And of course, he did.

Watkins is Stunned by what Greets Him


As he pulled onto the street and saw all the cars lined up, he was a little concerned.

He tells ABC,

“I was thinking, ‘Am I gonna be able to get my truck through,'” he said. “So, as I started approaching, that’s when everybody started putting up the signs and cheering. I was like, ‘Oh my goodness. Is this for me?’ And I was just blown away by the whole thing.”

Greeted with neighbors lining the street with signs and flowers thanking him for all he had done and continued to do, he told them he was “blessed” to know them.



As he described it later,

“I felt loved. I felt cared for. I just felt appreciated. I was humbled by the whole situation. Just to think that they did that for me… It’s an awesome feeling.”

And as Muratore concluded,

“These are the type of people we should be celebrating.”

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