With the holiday season upon us, you are probably spending more time than usual with the delivery people in your life. I’ve actually known my UPS delivery guy for years as I get a monthly shipment of formula for my tube-fed teenager. Although I don’t know his name, I can tell you he has a full head of straight brown hair, is of medium height and has a wide girth. He is pleasant and just the right amount of friendly, without being too chatty.
I know that he has a daughter with autism and that he is a St. Louis Cardinals fan. I learned something new about him recently. It was a warm day and I happened to be home for the delivery. I opened the garage door and my UPS driver offered to put the seven cases of formula in the house, so they wouldn’t spoil in the heat and I wouldn’t have to shlep them inside. He kindly put the boxes in my laundry room and as he went to leave, he reached up, touched the mezuzah on my doorpost, kissed his fingers, and walked out the door.
WTF, I wondered?? How had my what-I-thought-was-my-finely-tuned “Jew-dar” not gone off all these years?
“Whoa,” I sputtered as he walked away, “you’re Jewish?”
Indeed, he was. He lamented that he should have gone further than an undergraduate degree in religion, which I suppose was his way of saying how he ended up as a UPS delivery person. I was surprised but kind of delighted too. How wonderful to have another Member-of-the-Tribe join my inner world. No wonder we had an easy connection and rapport all these years – it felt like I had discovered a distant cousin.
He delivered a large item the other day that had to be signed for, so he brought it into my house and commented that something smelled good. I told him I was cooking for Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath,) which begins Friday evening. It was a Wednesday and he commented, “So early?”
It’s always good to learn the lesson about what happens when we make assumptions. This holiday season, I will not rush to judge any book by its cover, or its brown uniform.