Suffolk resident retires after 40+ years of UPS service

Published 8:00 am Friday, July 5, 2024

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Suffolk’s William “Bill” Pendleton is ready to take it easy after over 40 years of service as a delivery driver for United Parcel Service (UPS).

Starting out, Pendleton worked with UPS as an Old Dominion University student during Christmas of 1982, with a short layoff afterward. Shortly after, Pendleton was hired permanently by the company in 1983.

“When I was going to Old Dominion, they hired a lot of students to work part-time as loaders and unloaders. And back then, the starting pay was $8.00 an hour,” Pendleton said. “…but $8.00 an hour, in those days, was a lot of money!”

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By 1986, Pendleton started driving and making deliveries in various routes, including Downtown Portsmouth, Churchland and in 1989, began his route in Suffolk, where he has served ever since. Pendleton says there wasn’t a concrete plan for what career he wanted and things worked out for him.

“…It was a good part-time job when you were going to school and then when you get there, there’s opportunities to do something different or to make more money. It just kind of worked out that way. It wasn’t a plan. That’s how it works a lot of the time!” Pendleton laughed.

Pendleton said he has met and become friends with many people to whom he has delivered packages over the years. 

“I have friends that I met on my route that I go to Old Dominion basketball and football games. We have season tickets together and these are people that I just met delivering to over the years, and I got a lot of people that I know,” he said. “A lot of friends on my routes and then, a lot of drivers. I probably know about a hundred different drivers between three buildings.”

Pendleton says it’s hard to leave behind the people he sees during his routes, but he notes there are individuals with whom he will keep in touch. He also plans to have his own retirement party with family and to have another party this fall with fellow employees. Likewise, Pendleton says he intends to keep things relaxed in Suffolk on his 67 acres of farmland.

“So I’ve got plenty to do there. I have a lot of that leased out, I farm a little bit myself, so I’ll stay involved with that and our three grandkids and daughter and son-in-law live in the house next to us,” he said. “So I will do a lot with the grandkids, looking forward to that. First thing I want to do when I retire is to get them into swim lessons.”

However, Pendleton does say that he and his wife will travel in the future. Pendleton also reflected on the changes he’s seen in his 40+ career.

“Watched Planters – [I] delivered to the old Planters Plant – watched it get torn down, then watch it getting rebuilt and watch it adding on to it. They’ve done several additions since they built the new plant, just things like that,” he said.

Likewise, Pendleton also reflected on the community members he will miss during his routes.

“Just going to miss seeing the people that I see regularly, that’s the main thing. Because you meet a very interesting array of people,” he laughed. “I’ve gotten a lot of free drinks and free meals over the years, sometimes when it’s hot, you get more drinks than you can possibly drink.”