What I am about to tell you is a true story. It happened
in the fall of 1997. Every year around September U.P.S.
(United Parcel Service) hires a lot of new drivers. It’s
a temp position for the Christmas holiday. I had just
completed my commercial driving course and I needed a
job. A friend of mine knew a supervisor at UPS. My friend
Dave told me that his buddy might be able to get me a
Dave called me later that night after he spoke to his
friend. He said that I should go to the Elmsford
distribution location the following day for an interview.
I was really excited. I always admired the UPS guys; they
looked so cool in their brown uniforms. Plus, how hard
could delivering packages be?
When I arrived at the warehouse the next day I was
totally disappointed. There must have been 100 other guys
filling out applications. To make things even worse, I
was the only black guy there.
“Fuck,” I thought to myself. I don’t stand a chance.
White guys ruled UPS in Westchester County. Come to think
of it, I can’t even remember ever seeing a black UPS man
I suddenly felt really uncomfortable. I had hung out with
white people all my life. On many occasions I found
myself in the same situation, being the only black guy in
the room. It never bothered me. But this was different.
This was competing for a job. The odds were not in my
I sat down and filled my out my application. It felt like
it was a waste of my time. I really wanted this job. The
starting pay was $15.75 per hour, but what where my
chances of beating out these white boys? After about 30
minutes of filling out this long multi-page application,
I still felt uneasy.
At least 30 other guys finished before me. They placed
their application forms in a big pile. The two UPS human
resources representatives didn’t say a word to them as
they walked by. I completed my application and headed
toward the desk. After I laid my application on the desk,
one the UPS guys picked it up. “Oh you’re Will!”
I stopped dead in my tracks. “Yes,” I said.
We shook hands and he started to ask me some questions.
All the other applicants were staring at me. He told me
that my friend Dave told him about me. Then he asked me
to come back tomorrow for a road test. I was really
excited. My boy Dave came through big fucking time. I
left that warehouse feeling good. My life experiences
taught me that the key to everything in life is who you
know, not what you know.
The next day I took the five-minute road test and passed
it with know problem. After the test, John (the UPS rep.)
told me I got the job. Damn, just like that I was in. He
told me I had to go to Brooklyn, to complete 4 days of
training. I couldn’t believe it. I went home totally
blown away. I was going to be a UPS man. All I thought
about was wearing that brown uniform.
The training went very quickly. On the last day, they
told us where to report. They told me to report to the
Elmsford Distribution Center and that I would be working
in White Plains. I hit the jackpot. White Plains was my
hometown. While passing out the uniforms the trainer
said, “Fella’s, women seem to love this uniform. Be
careful because this brown uniform is going to get you a
lot of pussy.”
Everybody started laughing, but the trainer said, “I’m
dead serious guys. You won’t have time to chit chat with
the ladies, so have your phone numbers ready.” I remember
looking in the mirror that Monday morning. “Damn I look
good in this uniform,” I thought to myself.