When UPS driver Anthony Gaskin rounded the corner during his delivery route last Tuesday, he saw hundreds of people lining the street, cheering for him. They were residents of the Hallsley neighborhood in Richmond, Virginia, who consider Gaskin a hero.
They gathered to thank Gaskin for being a positive light during the dark days of the pandemic. The group was organized by Patty Friedman.
"Through COVID, Anthony has continued working, delivering packages at our doors, record numbers of them, over 180 times to date," Friedman told CBS affiliate WTVR. "I wanted to thank him personally for how much he helped me feel welcome when I moved in during a pandemic. It was terribly lonely and he was always the highlight of my day."
"Mentioning this to a few people and the response I got was all I needed to know I was not alone," Friedman continued.
When Gaskin pulled up that day, he was shocked by the number of people lining the street, holding up signs and shouting his name. Even his UPS supervisors showed up to celebrate his hard work.
"A humble man, he needed to be coaxed, but eventually, slowly drove his truck down the road while children and adults held up signs, screamed his name, honked their horns, and rang bells," Friedman said. Photos show Gaskin visibly moved by the gesture, wiping away tears.
Several residents praised the essential worker for his dedication and positivity during the pandemic.
"Anthony always smiles, waves, and goes above and beyond to deliver packages with care," one neighbor told WTVR. "He makes you feel like a friend when you see him. He brightens our day, whenever he drops off a package, which is frequently at our house! He stands out from ALL other delivery drivers and we love him! Cheers to Anthony!"
"Thank you Anthony for all you do," another neighbor said. "My 6-year-old daughter hasn't seen either set of grandparents in over a year. This has been very hard on everyone. Many of the packages you deliver are from them. The joy the packages bring makes it worthwhile. Thank you for always delivering them with a kind smile and a friendly wave!"
Sometimes he is the only outside face we see during the day," another neighbor wrote. "We appreciate his hard work and dedication during the pandemic, which delivered food, supplies, and even holiday gifts to a high-risk family.