GTPulse: Traverse City UPS Driver Goes Above and Beyond for Local Dogs

Last week UPS driver Andy Vos was walking through Grand Traverse Mall when he noticed something strange.

“I’m walking through the mall that day because it’s my route, and there’s this family passing by me and I could see the younger kids going, ‘he’s right there.’ Then they were like, ‘are you Andy Vos?’ And I said, ‘yeah how’d you know that?’”

The family had seen a community Facebook post on Overheard In Traverse City of Andy feeding treats to a chihuahua, German Shepherd, and a lab boxer mix. The post received hundreds of likes, comments and shares applauding Andy for his kindness. The man behind the camera is Pete Keeney, the proud owner of the dogs, and happy customer of Andy’s.

“I met Pete probably a year and a half ago. He’s on my route,” Andy said.

Andy has been with UPS for 12 years. He and his wife, Mishelle Vos, moved back to northern Michigan after the stock market crashed in 2008. Andy got a call from a friend about taking a job at UPS.

“I was really needing a job. I had been writing mortgage loans and when the market crashed it was not good. So, when my buddy Larry from Traverse City called and said UPS is hiring I came up to interview.”

Andy was the last hire that the Traverse City UPS made for three years. He spent his first few months as a preloader but knew that he wanted to be on the road. Andy grew up in Traverse City and as a child, he would daydream out of the car window and wonder where all of the unknown roads and side streets led.

He applied for a seasonal driving job after a year of working at UPS and took hours doing that too. However, he didn’t start giving out dog treats right away.

Andy knows over 30 routes and because of that is considered a swing driver. He often finds himself not knowing which route he’s going to be on for the day. 

“So by the time I get in there they go through and see who called in, who’s sick, how many drivers are needed and then they take the swing drivers and fill in the gaps.”

He encountered a route where the dogs would lock eyes with him, bark and wait by the door. He found that his coworkers who worked those routes would give the dogs treats and those dogs were expecting Andy to do the same. 

“So I started bringing them treats and it just turns out that…it’s nice. As a swing driver and a residential delivery driver, you really don’t see people. A lot of times you only see their dogs there.”

Just like any friendship, it takes time for trust to build. Andy has taken the time to gain the trust and affection of all the dogs he sees on his route. He’s good with dogs because he’s a happy dog dad too.

“I have a pet who’s part of our family picture. I’m a dog person. Pete’s dogs are pretty big, the black one is a little shy and it took a while for him to warm up to me. We’re about four months into our relationship with the shy one.”

Pete Keeney wanted to take a picture of his dogs getting a treat from Andy so he could post it to a Facebook group dedicated to UPS drivers that go out of their way for dogs. Pete also posted that same photo on local, northern Michigan Facebook groups as well. Andy saw none of the attention firsthand. He made a Facebook a few years ago, only to abandon it after feeling bogged down by all of the negativity on the site. Pete was happy to contribute something positive about his community to his community. True kindness deserves recognition.

“He really is a very down to earth guy who always takes the time to talk with his customers even when he’s busy,” Pete said.

Northern Michiganders took away knowing that a fellow community member is doing something to bring a little more joy into the world. Andy was touched by all the support.

“In your career, you wanna be good at what you do so it was really cool to see all the kind words. I was just really surprised, it blew me away.”

Categories: GTPulse