Montclairians say goodbye to beloved UPS guy
It’s the end of an era in terms of “quality customer service,” according to Montclair resident Ilmar Vanderer.
Vanderer joined about 20 Montclairians who gathered at Montclair Shipping Plus on Wednesday, May 25, in a surprise celebration of sorts for UPS deliverer Pete Maniscalco. After 25 years delivering to Montclair residents, Thursday, May 26, was Maniscalco’s last day donning the familiar brown uniform and climbing aboard the familiar brown truck.
Maniscalco drove up to his last stop and was met with balloons, gifts, cards, cheers and even large cutouts of his face.
Residents all said similar things about their favorite delivery guy: He helps carry heavy boxes, even into their homes. He lets children climb into his truck. He makes people laugh.
“I think there's a big decline these days in how people do their jobs and why people do their jobs,” Vanderer said. “And I think Pete is an excellent example or gold standard of a person who went way beyond his job description in doing his job and treated his customers more like they were friends and neighbors instead of just a pickup or drop off point.”
Vanderer said he looked forward to Maniscalco pulling up in his van.
“If [a package] was coming from him, it was more like getting a present than receiving a delivery,” Vanderer said.
Maniscalco has been resident Lisa Testa’s UPS driver for 20-plus years, and when she found out he was retiring, she wanted to make sure he had a proper sendoff. She organized the surprise celebration at Montclair Shipping Plus.
After delivering to residents in Montclair, Maniscalco’s last stop is the shipping store, where he drops off the rest of his packages to the customers who keep boxes there.
“Everybody loves him,” Testa said. “He goes the distance. He would carry things into the house for my mom. I know he worked his butt off during COVID — long, long, long hours. But he is just that friendly guy and always pleasant, never grumpy.”
Kelly Larkin, who works at Pink Bungalow, said Maniscalco always makes her laugh, and always has a smile.
“We will absolutely miss his face every day,” Larkin said. “He's funny as hell. He really is. He's a good guy.”
Meredith Gardner attended the celebration with her 7-year-old daughter, Maddie, because he “shows up for us all the time.”
“He couldn’t be nicer to the kids,” Gardner said. “Anytime they see a UPS truck, they yell, ‘Pete’s truck!’”
Montclair Shipping Plus owner Nyree Miscia said she has known Maniscalco for 20 years, and that he’s been more than just the UPS driver. He’s been to her wedding and was there to celebrate her kids’ births.
Maniscalco is special for so many reasons, she said, but especially because of his demeanor and cheerfulness in the mornings.
“I always have a lot of conversations with Pete about the music that I'm playing because I always have on just whatever I'm feeling at that point,” Ben Shooter, a Montclair Shipping Plus employee, said. “And I'm gonna miss that too, when he is not here to talk to me about the music anymore.”
Testa said when she sees Maniscalco delivering in the neighborhood she yells from her balcony: “Che si dice?” It means “How’s it going?” in Italian.
Maniscalco said that the first thing he’s doing in retirement is visiting his parents in Italy. When asked what he liked about the job he said: “People. I love people.”
And people love him.