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Midlothian UPS driver's story makes a global impact

Posted at 9:32 AM, Dec 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-22 09:32:11-05

MIDLOTHIAN, Va. -- In the quaint Midlothian neighborhood of Hallsley, giving back to the community is not unusual.

Foodbank collections, coat and toy drives, and other fundraisers are normal activities among neighbors.

But "giving thanks" to a special delivery driver, is something entirely new for the close-knit community.

Anthony Gaskin is Hallsley's UPS driver.

During the pandemic, neighbors said his daily deliveries have been lifesaving, both literally and figuratively.

On his daily route, neighbors said Anthony is always offering a warm smile or wave.

To the people who receive deliveries, he is a friend who knows their name and everyone in the family, including beloved pets.

"I joked with him back in June that I was going to add him to my Christmas card list because I actually do see him more than family," neighbor Tracy Cassalia said.

She said thanks to Anthony, she felt less distant from her parents, who she has not seen in months.

"He thinks he's delivering just a package, but he's really delivering something very special," she said.

"The kindness that he spreads is just unreal, especially during this difficult time," Britt Griffith added. "To have Anthony around, it's just truly amazing."

"His overall personality and demeanor are so contagious that he was just what we needed in 2020," Michael Glahn said.

The neighborhood sentiment inspired Patty Friedman to send an email earlier this month to neighbors, to get some ideas on how they could express their gratitude to Anthony.

"Just in my own situation of kind of feeling lonely and trying to get my feet on the ground, that he was bringing such joy into my life," Friedman said.

Neighbors decided to write letters and line the streets with posters, to cheer on Anthony as he made his normal delivery route. Even Anthony's supervisors were on hand to surprise him with a gift.

The gesture moved the humble delivery driver to tears.

"Watching the video footage, I've probably watched it way too many times," neighbor Holly Holston said. "I sobbed many tears just watching it because he is just an amazing person, his smile is infectious."

Anthony's story has had a similar impact around the world.

On the CBS 6 Facebook page alone, it has reached more than 35 million people and been shared hundreds of thousands of times.

Friedman said neighbors were not surprised by the heartfelt response from around the globe.

"It was meant to be," Friedman said. "It was going to happen one way or another."

Anthony told one neighbor that he would never forget the day that so many people showed him how much he meant to the community.

"I didn't think he would be that emotional but he almost teared me up a little when I saw him," said 14-year-old Gordon Ross. "I thought, yeah you definitely deserve it in every way."