AP NEWS

UPS driver from Spanish Fork retires after spending 33 years on the road

November 22, 2018
Alan Hutchison poses for a photo on his last day driving truck for United Parcel Service. He retired after 33 years.

The weeks leading up to Christmas are the busiest of the year for those who deliver packages.

For Alan Hutchison, this year is the first time in 33 years he’ll miss out the Christmas delivery rush, since he retired in October after 33 years delivering for the United Parcel Service.

The average tenure for a UPS driver is about 15 years, meaning Hutchison has outlasted the average UPS delivery driver by more than double.

Though he’s missing it this year, the Christmas rush is where Hutchison first got his start in the brown and yellow truck when he was hired for the Christmas rush 34 years ago. A month later, he was hired full time and has been with them ever since.

He delivered the same route in downtown Provo for nearly 23 years, learning the route — and the people along the way — like the back of his hand.

“Some of my best friends I have today are people I met while I was delivering down there,” Hutchison said.

Hutchison eventually switched routes, delivering to Sundance and Midway. It meant a little more drive time, and a little bit less of carrying boxes.

Part of the reason for the switch, Hutchison said, is that he had made too many good friends along his longtime Provo route.

“I had so many good friends, it was hard to get the job done,” Hutchison said. “If I went in, they wanted to chitchat, but with UPS, you’ve got to be going and going and going. I didn’t want to hurt people’s feelings and stuff, so I had to get to another route where I wouldn’t hurt people’s feelings by not being able to stop and chitchat.

“It’s a really good problem to have,” he added.

But switching routes didn’t keep Hutchison from continuing to build meaningful relationships, something he said was the best part of the job.

Over the next 10 years of his new route, he continued making friends. One little boy named Carter, in particular, grew attached to Hutchison and would always sit and wait for him at the window.

“I got to know his name, and would chitchat with him and his sister, what he was doing in school sports, with his friends, all that,” Hutchison said.

The day before retiring, he took his last delivery to Carter’s home while he was gone to school. Not wanting to miss seeing Carter one last time, Hutchison drove back later in the day to say goodbye, let Carter explore the brown and yellow truck and took some pictures together.

“There’s a lot of great families I got to know out there, and that was just one of them,” Hutchison said. “It was a little extra special.”

While those relationships were the best part of his career, Hutchison said there are a few things he won’t miss, such as delivering packages at 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve in the dark, trying to work quickly to get back home to his family.

Inclement weather and bad roads are another part of the job Hutchison said he won’t miss. His toughest day in 33 years came when he got the truck stuck in snow on a long driveway that hadn’t been cleared off. It set him behind schedule by a couple hours, causing him to miss out on front-row seats to a Jazz game he had been offered by a friend.

“That was one of my toughest days at UPS,” Hutchison said.

Luckily never experiencing a serious accident himself, Hutchison has witnessed or come across several serious accidents requiring him to call 911 or assist people himself.

He recalled one instance where a car crashed into a rock wall, blocking three quarters of the road. Hutchison said he directed traffic until that happened.

Retirement after 33 years of keeping so busy means Hutchison has to learn how to kick back and relax. He’s excited to use the extra time to spend with his five kids and 12 grandkids, but remembers his 33 years on the job fondly.

“The people I worked with made the days better,” he said. “If you just delivered boxes all the time and didn’t have relationships, it would be a lot harder. So the relationships are what makes it.”

AP RADIO
Update hourly