ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Driver Dave Weingardt can't remember his first UPS delivery — he's done thousands in his 31-year career — but he will remember the last delivery he made, one of happiness for a boy he met while driving his UPS truck.
"I'm a swing driver. That means doing different routes," Weingardt said. "That's how I met Caleb, was swing driving out in his area in Franktown."
Caleb is a teenager who absolutely loves it when the UPS truck shows up.
"He was born with a congenital brain defect," Caleb's mother, Nichole Lambert, said. "It causes his intellectual disabilities and severe seizures."
Weingardt knew it well. His son, Kaymen, had a similar condition.
"My boy was 17 at that time, Caleb was 16. So many similarities, they just looked like each other, their mannerisms were the same, and I knew these two boys were special," Weingardt said.
The boys became friends. Weingardt became well known to Caleb and his family. But things changed in March of last year.
"Kayman was 17 last year at the end of March when he passed. He had a seizure, the same seizure he had each time he had a seizure during sleep, and this one took his life." Weingardt said.
Knowing that something similar could happen to Caleb, Weingardt kept driving and delivering to Caleb's house.
"Caleb, he does feel like he is my son," Weingardt said. "That's why he came into my life, I think. He's filling a void for me. It's special."
So, on Weingardt's final days at work before retirement, he wanted to do something special for his young friend.
"We're making him an honorary UPS driver for the day, and he'll be able to take this with him and remember it forever," Weingardt said.
Caleb was given an official UPS uniform, complete with hat, socks and glasses, and climbed into his favorite "big brown truck" at the Englewood UPS depot. He proceeded to sound the horn several times, followed by laughter by himself and Weingardt.
"He is going to be talking about this for the rest of his life," Lambert said.
Weingardt then took his protege out to make a special delivery — to his mom, of course.
"From your honorary UPS driver of the day," Weingardt said to Caleb's mom as he handed her a cardboard box.
Weingardt can't remember his first UPS delivery, but he won't forget his last.
"I love seeing him here. He's a great kid," Weingardt said through tears. "And we need to give these kids everything we have."
This story was originally published by Jason Gruenauer on Scripps station KMGH in Denver.