They rolled out the red carpet for Palos Hills’ Anita Sherry and a few other elite United Parcel Service drivers.
For those who think a formal gown is the only attire suitable for women on a red carpet, think again.
Sherry sported her UPS uniform to the party and worked a full shift afterward.
The occasion was that she was named to the company’s coveted Circle of Honor after 25 years of safe driving in February at a ceremony at the company’s facility in Northbrook.
There were seven drivers inducted from Sherry’s facility.
“They laid out a red carpet and let us invite our families. It was a big deal,” Sherry said. “We also got a plaque, jacket and patch for our uniform’s that say, ‘Circle of Honor 25 Years Safe Driving.’ ”
A quarter of a century…
“I can’t believe that much time has already passed,” Sherry said.
This honor is rare enough, but consider this -- from 102,000 UPS drivers worldwide, Sherry’s now rolling with 7,877 honorees who’ve hauled packages a quarter-century, accident free. And only 166 of them are women.
UPS Public Relations representative Dan McMackin said UPS has over 500 methods for delivering packages.
“A typical driver makes 150-200 stops per day. Anyone can learn this job, but it takes a certain caliber of person to do it well,” McMackin said. “Anita and the other inductees are an example of employees willing to serve our customers with excellence. To do that, safety comes first.”
UPS noted in a recent press release that of 1,445 drivers inducted into the Circle of Honor this year, 41 are women.
“Attracting women for this position isn’t easy. But, like I said, anyone can learn this job, the rules of the road are the same for everyone,” McMackin said. “Contrary to perception, female drivers don’t lose their femininity. We remain conscious of that by tailoring their uniforms differently.”
McMackin said the weight of the packages don’t pose a problem to female drivers either due to the supports in place. He also said the job pays a decent wage.
“The average driver makes $60,000-80,000. Most have a college degree but it’s not required.” McMackin said.
Sherry shared her perspective saying, “Male or female, it takes a lot to do this job. You have to be willing to be busy all the time. You don’t clock out a 5 p.m. Your day isn’t done until the last package is delivered. I love what I do and I believe in this company.”
Not only does Sherry drive for work, she has quite a commute getting there. It’s 37 miles one way from Palos Hills to Northbrook where she picks up her truck.
She reduced the implication of any inconvenience stating, “I’ve only been driving to Northbrook 23 of 27 years working here.”
Some would argue one reason Sherry is so love-struck for UPS may have to do with Fred, her husband of 23 years. He’s also employed by UPS as a driver. Sherry said he will be inducted into the Circle of Honor soon.
“Getting inducted isn’t a competition though,” she said. “It’s about the number of years we've contributed to being safe on the road.”
Two other packages Sherry delivered over the years are 10-year old twins, Jake and Emma.
Overall, it’s been a fruitful – and safe – 25 years.
“I’m very thankful to UPS,” she said. “They’ve provided me with more than a career. I’ve gained good friends, a solid work ethic, and a wonderful family.”