Heroes among us


Inspiring story of a UPS driver who delivered a package and saved a life.

It was after lunch. The mercury stood in the single digits, and a stiff wind blew out of the north. UPS driver Brian McDowell traveled along his rural route near Defiance, in northwest Ohio, making afternoon deliveries.

A UPS driver is recognized for his heroics on a cold, not-so-routine day.

At his next stop, McDowell noticed something odd lying in the yard.

"I thought it was a rolled-up tarp," McDowell recalls.

He walked to the house and made the delivery. On his way back, the object caught the driver's attention again. Something just didn't look right. He had to take a closer look. He walked up and noticed ... feet.

An elderly gentleman was lying face down in the snow and wasn't moving.

"I was really afraid he was dead," says McDowell. "It was so cold outside."

The UPS driver approached the man and asked, "Sir, are you OK? Do you think you can get up?"

Before the ambulance arrived

The man tried to roll over but screamed and stayed where he was.

McDowell called 911 and spoke with the emergency operator. He relayed that the man had hurt his back and was very cold. The operator assured them that help was on the way.

McDowell asked the man: "Do you have anything in the garage to cover up with?"

"I don't know."

McDowell went into the garage but couldn't find anything that would help keep the man warm.

"Sir? Do you mind if I check in the house?"

With approval, McDowell went inside and found a blanket on the living room couch. He covered the man with it. Turns out, the man had been in the snow for two or three hours.

When EMS arrived, about a half-hour later, McDowell asked if they needed him for anything.

"No," they said. "You did a great job."

The aftermath: a family's appreciation

That night, McDowell called the hospital to check on the man. He spoke with his son.

"His back is sore, but he's alive and doing well," he reported. "Thank you, for what you did."

A few days later, the man's wife called the center to thank McDowell. He reports: "She said the doctors told her the man's body temperature was so low he couldn't have lasted much longer."

If McDowell hadn't taken the extra moment to check on something that didn't look right to him, the situation could have ended much differently.

"I didn't really do much," McDowell says. "But, I'm glad I was there for him and his family."

Liberty Mutual didn't agree with his modest assessment. Instead, the insurance company awarded McDowell a Life Saver Award, which Liberty Mutual established in 1922, and McDowell was also recognized by UPS for his heroics on that cold, not-so-routine day.


Reader Comments

Add Your Comment

Diane Bryson
It is so great to hear what Good People are doing. We do hear so much sad and disgusting things in this world. So Steve let's ask what would you have done? Why is it when people are showing others appreciation for a good deed, jerks like you have to sound stupid. Why? Anyway great job, Brian!!! And God bless you and the gentleman's family...
Patrick McDonald
Those are the types of people who volunteer to serve the community via UPS. Great service and always helpful. McDowell is another heroic UPS delivery man.
Really, a law? Where? Show me. My husband has been in EMS for over 20 years and there's no law in our state, Texas, or in California or anywhere else that we've heard of requires anyone to stop and investigate what in any way looks odd or out of the ordinary. The only time you're required to stop is when you've just run someone over. Rather than insinuate a few choice phrases in your direction, instead I'll hope that if you ever find yourself in such dire trouble, someone like Mr. McDowell happens by to stop and save your more than cynical life.
Steve Brokkes
Really, This is common sense and in some cases required by law. I am shocked that UPS feels that alternative which in the eyes of UPS which is common place to leave the guy there and say nothing. What's next for your PR Campaign. UPS employee goes to the store and does not steal anything?
German UPSF
Bro.... I am proud working at UPS, and when I see co-workers like you, I feel awesome and more proud. Thank God you looked at your surroundings and could find this person and save his life... God bless you!!! Awesome job!!!
Bobbi Hernandez
It seems we hear of so much tragedy and the heartbreaking stories associated. It is warming to finally start hearing of all the good things that life has to offer. Has any one noticed how truly remarkable our REAL heroes are, though? It's truly amazing to hear how each of these amazing heroes don't seem so important to themselves, I'm in awe of each of these inspiring people, they don't even realize what an endangered species of humans they truly are. Dear Mr. McDowell my admiration and respect goes out to you. I can only wish you the best and that you get not only what you deserve out of life but four fold of what you deserve. You're a blessing in more ways than you can imagine.
UPS seems to hire very good people. Their workers are well trained and people like Brian make UPS proud. Thank you, Brian, you are wonderful. (P.S. I am married to a retired UPSer...good guy, too.)
Lionel LaCorbiere
Great job Brian!!! In the day-to-day mission we all have of doing our jobs, you took time out of your busy schedule to investigate something that just didn't look quite right and definitely saved a life. To you it was no big deal, but the family I'm sure thought the exact opposite because the elderly gentleman was probably a family's grandfather. You did the right thing and I'm proud of you for doing so!
Lisa S
This is an amazing story of an amazing man going above and beyond what most people would have done in this instance. Great job.
Debra Fulmer Sullivan
I have always loved UPS drivers who are always friendly and helpful. Kudos to Brian who is a good Samaritan, a fine example of human kindness.
Kathy Clark
Thanks so much for not doing the "I don't want to get involved" thing. That could have been my dad out there. Great, great job!
Sandy at Republic Mills
Brian is our driver most of the time. He is a great person and it's no surprise to find out he took the time to check on the gentleman!! We are lucky to have a great driver on our route!
Robert lloyd
Wonderful story. Great job ups angel.
Eileen Rooney
Every UPS driver I have met has always been very nice & helpful. What a GREAT story!! Thank You to ALL UPS workers for all you do.
Mary Elizabeth
It's people like you that make this world a better place... Thanks for making a difference.
More people in our troubled country should follow McDowell's example and help those in peril. Too often folks don't want to get involved for whatever reason. McDowell is truly a good citizen.

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