Cal Ripken Jr. became known as "the iron man" of baseball after playing 2,131 consecutive games, breaking Lou Gehrig's 56-year-old record. But when it comes to delivery people, the iron man may be UPS driver Tom Camp.
The 73-year-old service provider has delivered what no other employee in his company has yet achieved: 51 years behind the wheel without a single accident.
Camp has driven upwards of a million miles and delivered nearly 5 million packages. In the process, he has become more than just a familiar face to his regular customers since he first went to work for UPS in 1962.
Now, as the holiday season kicks into full gear, many residents around the Detroit suburb of Livonia, Mich., may soon see Camp and his Big Brown truck coming to a doorstep near them. The run-up to Christmas can mean up to 32 million packages a day for the company.
When the former Marine began delivering, roads were less congested and drivers less distracted. These days, he often sees people reading newspapers or applying makeup behind the wheel. He gets especially annoyed when he sees people texting on their phones.
“You pull up to a red light, and they just sit there, and you can see their heads down, and it just irks the living hell out of you,” he said. “Come on, drive! You know? Can't you wait till you get home?”
Only one other UPS driver has come close to challenging Camp’s record. Ron Sowder of Dayton, Ohio, boasted 50 accident-free years when he retired from the company in 2012, according to a UPS statement. Camp and Sowder are the only drivers who have worn a “50” on a safety uniform patch, or have had their vehicles specially marked.
At this point, it may be a long time before anyone can catch up to Camp. Despite his age, he says he has no plans to retire any time soon.