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Fifty years of feeders
Eddie Hughes

Eddie Hughes loves to see the sun come up … from behind the wheel of his rig

I’ve had two jobs in my whole life. One was in the cotton fields in Mississippi. The other one was at UPS.

I like UPS a lot better.

I left Mississippi when I was 19 after I graduated high school. My family lived not too far from Memphis. We worked as sharecroppers.  I had a good home raising.  I came to Indianapolis where I had relatives, and I started looking for a job.

I’ll never forget the day I was hired. I got back to my sister’s home after a day looking for work. My sister told me UPS had called. I went straight down there. They had packages running down the belts, and they put me right to work. Right then, that same day.

My first UPS paycheck was $30. It got away from me.

The first two years, I loaded off the belts on the 5 p.m. shift. I went into the service for two years, then came back to UPS and worked for two more years.

Here’s my favorite memory at UPS: I was working in the sort house and my supervisor, Larry Long, came to me. It was peak season. He asked me if I would like to drive feeders. I was real happy – that was the job I wanted all along.

Larry is a person I remember. He explained to me how my job should be, how to do my job. He explained that you always come to work. You drive no matter what, ice or snow, you didn’t call in, you kept driving. You figured it out.

Another supervisor taught me all about checking out my truck, what to look for, how to prepare for the road. Leaking hubs, loose lugs, steering. Looking inside the tire, not just outside. Trying to make sure the truck’s not coming loose.

I’ve been driving a feeder since 1968. They say a feeder driver travels a million miles every 10 years. So I must have driven over 5 million miles.

I just like to be on the road. It’s easy for me to come to work every day. I drive doubles and singles from Indianapolis to Tennessee, 270 miles one way. I meet a driver coming up from Georgia. We swap trailers, and then drive back.

My favorite time to drive is early morning. I like to see the day break. I never see it unless I’m driving. There’s just something about it.

My advice to a UPSer starting work today? A UPS person needs to be dedicated to service. You have to realize this job is not about you. It’s about the customer.

The customer expects UPS to deliver what we promise. And customers will speak up a little more now than when I started. I find out about it if somebody’s not happy, but they don’t talk directly to me. That’s why I’m glad I don’t drive a package car.

My service anniversary is November 5. How am I going to celebrate? I’ll come to work and do my job and go home, like every other day.

Category: Inside UPS
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    Comments [2]

  1. What a great story! Eddie’s strong work ethic and dedication (not to mention his incredible longevity) are inspirational. Congratulations, Eddie, and may all your travels be safe.

  2. That’s My Uncle!! I love you & Congrats on 50 years of dedicated service.

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