“UPS Famous James” makes holiday deliveries bright

The 21-year-old man has found his passion in delivering smiles.
James Allenson and Eric Hellested (Source: WLNE)

WARWICK, RI (WLNE) –If you live in Warwick and regularly get deliveries from UPS, you most likely have received a delivery from Eric and his helper, James Allenson.

James, a 21-year-old resident from Warwick living with autism, first met Eric Hellested when he was a toddler and would run out to greet the deliveryman. “I’ve been on this route for about twenty years, and I’ve known James since he was about two or three,” says Hellested. “He laughs at almost everything, he’s got a bit smile, and he’s always got a great disposition.”

As he grew up, his mother found he had developed a fond interest in the company when she and his stepfather would take him to see what they call the “UPS Train” leaving the Plan Way facility during school vacations and days off. “It had just been something we’d do as a field trip, we’d go watch the trucks come out,” says his mother, Shirlee Allenson. “Everything is UPS this, UPS that. You ask him to blow his nose, and it’s ‘What, my UPS nose?’”

When the pandemic hit and the family had more time at home it became a habit they would do three times a day at 9am, 1pm, and 7pm. Not only did it never get old, workers began to notice James and began to gift him what has grown now to an impressive collection of UPS-themed items including race cars, stuffed animals, a custom sweater, and even a UPS basketball. “He’s got lots of friends, and they’ve all been wonderful to James. They’ve adopted him as ‘Famous James’,” says Shirlee.

Yet James wanted to do more than just watch the trucks, he wanted to help. Today, he does just that in his role as a helper to his driver Eric carrying packages from the truck to each and every stop along the way. “He loves to meet the customers, and they love to meet him,” says Hellested.

“As he’s being dropped off at the house, ‘we work again next week?’,” says Shirley. “He means tomorrow, and yes, we say, he’ll be going.”

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