South Shore native counted on to deliver
The brown packages appear each day at work or in people’s homes as if by magic.
Such magic might be possible but not on the South Shore where 25 drivers working for the United Parcel Service deliver thousands of packages each day.
“Sometimes people only see the brown,” said Mike Fahnstock, the district manager for UPS. “They don’t always see the person wearing the uniform.”
One driver, 25-year-old Jimmy Montgomery, has a different problem. He was born and raised in South Lake Tahoe and knows almost everybody.
“I like it here. I like the people,” he said. “Sometimes it is bad knowing everyone and always seeing people I know, but most of the time it is great.”
Montgomery delivers more than 200 packages each week and makes almost as many stops all around the lake. As a junior driver, he has worked for UPS for four years, Montgomery is assigned to routes as far away as Tahoe City but said he likes the variety.
“It is nice. I get to go different places every day and see different people,” Montgomery said. “It is what makes the job fun.”
Fahnstock called Montgomery an excellent employee and said, “Whatever you ask him to do he does really well.”
He had no idea how many offices UPS has across the country but Fahnstock said employees are often very close in small offices such as the one on the South Shore.
“99 percent of them will tell you the best things about this job are working together and the customers, because it is the people that make this job fun.”
The job is not always fun Montgomery said, especially in winter.
“The worst is when they close Highway 89 and I have to drive all the way around the lake to the west shore in chains, and then drive all the way back.” he said, imitating the jarring sound the chains make on the road.
A UPS truck did go off the road near Echo Summit this winter but weather conditions rarely affect the drivers Montgomery said.
“When it snows there are fewer people out, the roads are clear, and it is beautiful,” he said. “I have had bad days – I have been stuck in the snow for hours, or out really late – but it always turns out well.”
Many customers do appreciate the work UPS drivers put in.
“It is a tough job,” said Scott Chamberlain of Western Nevada Supply, which receives packages every day. “We deliver things also so we understand what drivers go through.”
Montgomery doesn’t plan on leaving South Lake Tahoe, where he has a young son, or on leaving UPS.
“I lived in Santa Cruz for two years, but didn’t like city life,” he said. “Here you can build relationships and I always run into people I haven’t seen in years.”
He also enjoys feeling like he accomplished something at the end of the day.
“There have been of changes in technology since I started working for UPS,” Fahnstock said. “But we have always done the same thing – we pick up and drop off little brown packages.”
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