After 186 stops through Bloomington within 12 hours, Orlando Driver’s day is finished. First, the high-priority packages, then the larger ones, then it’s a free-for-all. It has been his routine for 36 years and counting.
Driver is a UPS delivery man. At 60 years-old, he walks Kirkwood Avenue nearly every day making deliveries. Over the years, some of the business owners he’s gotten to know have left, but Driver is still here.
“He really is the king of Kirkwood,” said Jay Wilkin, general manager of Tracks Music and Videos. “He knows what’s up.”
Being able to get out and see the same people for the last 15 to 20 years has been the best part of his job, Driver said. IU students whose parents were around when Driver first started his job have come up to him, saying their parents have talked about him and how nice he was.
Wilkin has known Driver for nearly 24 years. He’d come into Tracks with packages and stick around to talk about ball games and complain.
"He's kind of like President Trump, but not in a demonic way," Wilkin said. "He’s a little out there, but people like that about him."
Wilkin reminisced on a time when Driver helped a business owner down the street from Tracks. The man would chase Driver down the street, making sure he got his packages every day, and Driver was still accommodating.
“He’s the happiest complainer I know,” Wilkin said. “He survives on his niceness, plus he does the job.”
Driver grew up in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and came to Bloomington to babysit his younger cousins for a summer. He still remembers the day he arrived in Bloomington, June 6, 1973. After spending a summer here, Driver chose to stay. He enjoyed how easygoing Bloomington residents were in the early 1970s.
“It was like Camelot,” Driver said. “Everything was smooth.”
After graduating from Bloomington High School North and deciding not to go to college, Driver worked odd jobs here and there to make money and have something to do. When Driver was 24, a friend told him it was time for him to get a real job.
He told Driver UPS was hiring new delivery drivers, and so began his lifelong career.
Along with his job, he met his wife in Bloomington. She was a student at IU and is now a chemist. Driver said he married for her brains.
Driver said he doesn’t like how the Bloomington scene has changed over the years. What used to be a more carefree, loving town has become much more conservative than Driver was used to.
Driver is getting older and has noticed his friends showing up in the obituary section of the newspaper more often. He never understood why older people were so bitter until now.
Some of the students get on his nerves too.
He delivered boxes to a student one day without a complaint, and the same day, he delivered boxes to a different student who complained about having to bring the boxes upstairs by himself. Driver gave him some pointers on how to pick up a box.
“It’s the rudeness of the East Coast kids,” Driver said. “They don’t have respect for people who do things for them.”
Students riding scooters have grabbed onto the back of his UPS truck for an extra boost and walked out right in front of his truck on the streets. He worries students will walk into traffic when they’re outside of a college town.
“They don’t tell you everyone around you is gonna be stupid as hell,” Driver said.
Driver has stuck with his job because of the money, insurance and stability. His job helped him pay for medical bills when he broke his neck and when his youngest son was blinded in a car accident.
He said once his youngest child, now a senior at IU, is settled and has insurance of his own, he’s retiring from UPS.
“Once I’m done, I’ll be in honey do hell,” Driver said.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly quoted Orlando Driver saying "Once I'm done, I'll be in honeydew hell." Driver actually said "Once I'm done, I'll be in honey do hell."
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