UPS driver takes photo of child obscured in pile of leaves to share important message about safety: 'My heart completely stopped'

A child playing by the side of the road had one UPS driver shaking like a leaf.

Jordan Weaver was delivering packages in Elkhart, Ind., on Nov. 5, when he got out of his vehicle to drop off a box at a residence. “He walked across the street to deliver a package to a woman that was leaf blowing in her yard,” the UPS director of corporate media relations Glenn Zaccara told Yahoo Lifestyle. “She took the package and started walking into her home, and Jordan started walking back across the street to his truck.” That’s when he noticed the little boy in an extremely dangerous position: lying in a huge pile of leaves practically in the street.

“I couldn’t believe it at first — my heart completely stopped,” Weaver told local South Bend, Ind., news station WSBT-TV. The kid was barely visible to drivers; all Weaver saw was his hat. Luckily, he was already parked on the other side of the road.

Zaccara said Weaver immediately turned around and went back to the house he just delivered the package to. “Turns out, of course, that’s her son,” Zaccara said. The little boy jumped out of the leaves and bounded toward his mother. “So Jordan said, ‘First, I just want you to be aware of what was going on,’ he was certain she didn’t notice, with the leaves flying and the noise,” Zaccara said.

A UPS driver took a photo of a child playing in leaves to draw awareness to a larger issue. (Photo: Facebook)

But Weaver also wanted to record the moment as a lesson for his colleagues. “At every location all over the world, we do 15-minute PCM meetings before drivers go out on the road,” Zaccara said, referring to the company’s  pre-work communication meetings. “Part of it is stretching and literally getting themselves ready to go out. But an important part of the PCM is some type of safety message.” Every driver takes turns delivering a safety tip or tale each morning. “So he was thinking, ‘I want to share this story with my colleagues at a future PCM.’” So he asked the mom if he could take a picture of her son and explained why he wanted to, and she agreed. They re-created the moment, this time with the child’s head visible.

Weaver simply wanted to share this scary story with his colleagues. He didn’t realize he was about to share it with the world. “Weaver sent the picture to the co-chair of the safety committee program, which every facility has,” Zaccara detailed. That person, Theresa Baker, posted it on her Facebook page, “with the intent of sharing it with other drivers and just locally.” It’s safe to say, the message was delivered. That post, which has since been deleted, had garnered 33,000 reactions and nearly 400,000 shares as of Tuesday afternoon.

But UPS doesn’t want this to be a message about parenting — it’s about safety.

Although driver safety is a big part of the UPS culture — Zaccara said the company spends almost half a billion dollars a year on safety training and a good chunk of that is on driver training — Weaver is particularly alert as he’s been with the company only about 10 months and just graduated from its multiweek driver safety training.

But he’s already getting used to seeing reckless behavior on the road. “Countless times a day,” Weaver told WSBT of how often he sees something like this. “Distracted driving is the main one. You see so many people on their phones not paying attention to the roads around them, especially in neighborhoods like this.”

Weaver’s learned a lot since starting at UPS, and he wants to impart some of that knowledge. “You really have to keep your eyes open,” he said. “No matter what street you’re on, no matter where you’re at, just have to keep your eyes open. You have to pay attention to everything around you constantly,” he added.

UPS is proud of its driver. “Safety is our top priority at UPS. When one of our drivers saw this child in the leaves, it was a chance to help spread the word to always be watchful on the road,” the company said in a statement.

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