Pet of 15 years mistakenly packed and shipped by customer.
"I thought I'd seen it all," says Donna Di Ienno, a UPS Customer Center supervisor. "However, this story may be the best one I've been involved with yet."
No doubt it is.
Here's how it goes: The UPS Customer Center in Lawnside, N.J., had just closed at 9 p.m. After locking the doors, Di Ienno was warming up her car when she noticed a vehicle driving onto the lot. A man and a young boy exited the vehicle and ran to the front door looking frantically through the windows. Getting out of her car, Di Ienno asked if she could provide assistance.
"I need your help," said the man. "My name is Todd Marcus, and I own an exotic bird store, and one of my birds is in a package that my wife shipped out earlier today."
Di Ienno asked whether he had a tracking number and how he knew that the bird was in the box.
"Our family pet bird is named Squeakers," Marcus explained. "We have had him for 15 years, and we let him fly through the store freely throughout the day. At night, we keep him in a cage; however, tonight when we closed the shop we could not find him."
Marcus owns Todd Marcus Birds Exotic in nearby Delran, N.J. He sells a variety of birds, including toucans, black palm cockatoos, hyacinth macaws and red-tailed cockatoos.
"I thought I've seen it all," says Donna Di Ienno, a UPS Customer Center supervisor. "However, this story may be the best one I've been involved with yet."
A hurried search
"My wife and I went and looked at the surveillance footage," Marcus continued. "My wife was preparing a package to be shipped just before our driver arrived. She walked away from the box to get the paperwork and label for the box. We noticed that Squeakers had flown onto the box to investigate and wedged himself under the flap. When my wife returned, she just closed the box and taped it up. So I know that's he's in that box."
Taking immediate action, Di Ienno reopened the counter and contacted Larry Gaines, a UPS security supervisor, and explained the situation. She gave him the tracking number. "The first thing I did was contact Twilight Sort Manager Joe Galdo and explained the situation," Gaines says.
Gaines met Galdo in the scanning office. They had called in reinforcements to help. Using UPS's scanning and tracking technology, they located the trailer that held the package.
At the trailer, they met another UPS employee, Kenny Hodge, and began searching for the package. Everyone knew time was a factor as the package had now been in freezing temperatures for nearly three hours. After 25 minutes, they located the package. Gaines immediately rushed it to the counter.
Upon arrival, Marcus opened the package. Squeakers jumped out and onto the floor. Marcus put his hand down and the bird immediately climbed up his arm and onto his shoulder.
Marcus and his son were delighted and impressed by the efforts of everyone at UPS. "I can't believe it," Marcus said. "I can't believe you did all of this just for us."
A smile from ear to ear could be seen on his son's face as they tucked Squeakers up under his shirt and headed home.