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Small town moves its 1 UPS driver to tears with generous gift, party

Dauphin, Pennsylvania is a small town with a big heart.
/ Source: TODAY

Set along central Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna river sits a small town of just under 800 people.

“Blink and you’ll miss it,” Joe Calhoun, a longtime resident told TODAY. “But there is something so special here. It’s a small town with a big heart.”

Dauphin Borough sign located in central Pennsylvania
Dauphin's population was just 774 in 2019 according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Dauphin, Pennsylvania, has no traffic lights and is the type of town where everyone knows your name -- including the UPS driver.

Chad Turns has been delivering packages for UPS to Dauphin for over a decade.

“Everyone knows how special Chad is,” resident Jenny Shickley shared. “If he thinks something might be a gift - and this happened to us - he literally didn’t deliver it when the kids were in the yard, he just drove by, and then he drove all the way back to our house after dark, because he was nervous it was a gift and didn’t want to ruin it for the kids.”

Shickley’s experience isn’t an outlier. Turns is well known in the community for going the extra mile.

“On Facebook, another friend mentioned there was a package that needed signing and they weren’t home,” she explained. “Chad was nervous that it was important, so he went to their parents' house to get it signed for them.”

When the coronavirus pandemic swept the country, Dauphin residents reacted like many across the nation — staying home and ordering online. As a result, Turns’ workload increased and began resembling the typically busier holiday season.

“He’s been working 60-80 hour weeks for a year,” Shickley said. “He’s been working Christmas-style hours for 365 days.”

With the encouragement and support of fellow residents, Shickley organized a “Thank You, Chad” event through a community Facebook page with the intention of doing a big group gift.

“The funny thing is I meant to set it up for $300, but it set to $500,” she shared. “It hit $500 within two days and the total wound up being a little over $1000.”

Adam Kerr, a UPS shift supervisor who is the recipient of deliveries from Turns at his own residence, assisted with the logistics.

“He’s not Chad’s supervisor,” Shickley explained. “But he dealt with all the dispatch stuff. He arranged for Chad’s last stop to be an on-demand pickup at the municipal building. Chad thought he was going to pick up a box, [but] it was the community and kids and big signs.”

UPS driver Chad Turns becomes emotional after receiving surprise from route residents.
Chad Turns has been delivering UPS packages to Dauphin for more than a decade. Courtesy Kristie Vogelsong

Donning masks and standing socially distanced, community members cheered and clapped in the parking lot as Turns’ brown delivery truck pulled up.

“It was very overwhelming,” Turns said. “The idea that they even thought of me to do go above and beyond and do what they did yesterday was truly amazing to me.”

Turns told TODAY he has been the recipient of generosity all year long, with people offering him water or a cookie along his route, but Tuesday's surprise made him emotional.

“I cried,” he shared, adding that his wife also teared up. “I always call her when I leave work and she asks me how my day was. It was a tearjerker. It was very touching and humbling.”