Rob Blumberg will deliver his last package on Halloween. On Oct. 31, he will close the door on a 36-year career with UPS, the last 23 years delivering packages in the Mint Hill area.
Though his retirement is still six weeks away, Blumberg's already worried about missing the customers he's come to know as friends.
“I'm going to miss my customers terribly. My co-workers ask me how I can stay on a route so long, and I tell them that it's not the route, it's the people that keep me here. When I get out and see a customer and they smile and say, ‘Hey Rob!' my problems just disappear,” said Blumberg.
After so long, there aren't many folks he doesn't know.
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Blumberg knows his customers by name and can even recognize their cars in traffic. He's constantly throwing up his hand to wave and smile as they pass.
He also knows their dogs, calling them by name, and carries treats for them that he dispenses with their owner's permission.
Over the years, he's delivered snakes and books, office supplies and bees, medical supplies and even boxes marked “living organisms.” He's still excited to see what the 100 or so stops he makes each new day will hold.
He says new equipment and technology has made his job easier over the years.
The Diad (the computer carried to the door at each delivery) is downloaded each morning to tell him everything he needs to do, including number of packages to deliver, route and a GPS.
Blumberg says it's a vast improvement over the hand-scrawled pages he used to create each morning that succumbed to rain and sweat and other elements. By the end of some days he couldn't even read them – and that's if they hadn't blown out of the truck somewhere along the route.
He says the trucks, too, are much more comfortable and easier to drive.
When he hands his route over to someone else, the first thing he plans to do is rest.
Then, he wants to go back to school and learn some new skills. At 57, Blumberg says he's too young to just stay home, so he's thinking about a new career – possibly in real estate.
He plans to spend more time with grandsons Parks, 4, and Joseph, 1.
He'll have more time to follow his beloved L.A. Dodgers.
And he plans to volunteer. “I always try to look for the best in everybody I meet, and I always try to help out wherever I can,” Blumberg says. “I've got to be around people. I love being inspired by them and inspiring them.”