CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Even though his truck does not have sirens and his uniform does not offer added fire protection, Anthony Gaskins is considered a hero in the Hallsley neighborhood in Chesterfield County, Virginia.
Gaskins is a driver for UPS and during the pandemic, his daily deliveries have been life-saving, both literally and figuratively, to the Midlothian neighbors.
"Through COVID, Anthony has continued working, delivering packages at our doors, record numbers of them, over 180 times to date," Hallsley neighbor Patty Friedman wrote in an email. "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."
That prompted Patty and her neighbor to come up with a way to show their appreciation for Gaskins.
It all came together on Tuesday, December 15.
"Arriving on bikes, on foot, and in more than 75 cars, hundreds of Hallsley residents lined the road and waited for Anthony to turn the corner," she wrote. "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."
Gaskins' supervisors even showed up to present him with a gift.
The neighborhood gesture visibly moved Gaskins, who spoke briefly, thanked everyone, and then got back to work.
"Anthony always delivers our packages with a wave and a smile," one appreciative neighbor wrote about the UPS driver. "Sometimes he is the only outside face we see during the day. We appreciate his hard work and dedication during the pandemic, which delivered food, supplies, and even holiday gifts to a high-risk family."
"Anthony always smiles, waves, and goes above and beyond to deliver packages with care," another neighbor wrote. "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," a third neighbor added. "My six-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!"