Colorado

Nov 15, 2013 4:00 PM by Juice Godfrey

Cold allergy forces UPS driver to leave Rawlins

RAWLINS, Wyo. (AP) - Joe and Magen Reed hadn't planned on leaving Rawlins.

They visited Mobile, Ala., this summer, where Magen had family. They fell in love with it, but they decided to wait until their children finished high school until they considered relocating.

"But God had other plans," said Joe Reed, who, as a long-time UPS package car driver, is a fixture of the community.

This summer, Reed was diagnosed with cold-induced urticaria - meaning that he had developed an allergic reaction to the cold.

And when you're allergic to the cold, you can't really live in Rawlins anymore. "Even right now, it's too cold already," said Reed on Thursday.

Reed stopped working and turned in his uniform, and the residents of Rawlins still haven't gotten used to him in plain clothes.

"People tell him, 'I didn't recognize you with pants on,' because he always wears shorts," Magen Reed said.

On Saturday, Reed will be leaving the place he's lived for his whole and head south to a warmer place with his family.

Reed joined UPS 12 years ago when he was laid off by the oil rig he worked at. "I went to job services and there was a posting for UPS," he said. "I heard that if there is an UPS opening, you always apply for it."

He started in the middle of Christmas season. "It's the worst time possible for most people," he said. But it quickly became his favorite time of the year.

"I enjoy making everyone's day," he said. "They get a package from grandma and grandpa, and I watch them get excited."

He remembers delivering a package around Christmas one year and the kids in that house were misbehaving. "They told them, you have to behave because the UPS guy is best friends with Santa Claus," he laughed.

Reed's favorite part of his job was the one-on-one contact with customers. "I go to pretty much every business in town every day," he said. "There's a routine - and people know what time I show up."

Reed said if people don't know him from his job, they know him from Rawlins High School sports.

UPS Rawlins manager Brett Renke said the community will miss Reed's customer service skills. "He's going to be sorely missed," Renke said. "I know his customers love him and we're going to do our best to give them the service they had, but it's going to be hard to replace."

Reed sees former UPS employee Jim Gill as his biggest influence for teaching him the ropes of the job. "He taught me to work smarter, not harder," he said.

Renke applauded Reed for never having an accident or injury in 12 years. "He led by example and was part of the safety committee," he said. "He's a quiet guy, but everything else he does speaks loudly. He's an incredible man and an incredible employee."

Andrea Shepard knows the family well as the morning supervisor for UPS and Magen Reed's boss at her real estate company.

"(Joe) is absolutely amazing," she said. "Both he and Magen are going to be missed. We appreciate everything they've done for their community and their employers."

Reed hasn't secured a job in Alabama yet, but he said he has several interviews lined up. "A desk job is not for me," he said. "I'll take it as long as its hands on. I like staying active."

With his moving date just around the corner, Reed has mixed emotions. "I'm upset because all my friends and family are here and I had a stable job," he said. "But on the other hand, I'm starting a new chapter in my life."

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