Missouri teen with rare syndrome has unique passion for UPS

MEXICO, Mo. (AP) — On a sunny July afternoon, a trademark United Parcel Service (UPS) truck drives its route through Mexico, Missouri. A few miles away in a residential neighborhood, Brenan, 16, drives his vehicle — a bicycle with a brown UPS box tied to it — down the tree-lined street, pretending to make his own deliveries.

Brenan gets excited every time a UPS delivery arrives. His mother, Samantha Wilson, isn’t exactly sure when his love for the company began, other than the fact that his feeding supplies arrive on the truck monthly. Brenan has Cardiofaciocutaneous syndrome, which has caused him to need multiple heart surgeries and a feeding tube, among other things.

“There’s not a whole lot of kids that have it,” Wilson said.

The man usually delivering those supplies is UPS delivery driver Travis Aulbur.

“When I first started delivering to him, he always liked coming out and seeing me and getting the packages from me,” Aulbur told the Mexico Ledger . “He would walk with me back and forth from the truck to the house and I’d just have all those conversations with him, asking him how he was doing.

Aulbur’s interactions with Brenan have made quite the impact. Brenan’s love for the job grew and he even got his own vehicle thanks to the creativity of Tiger Rotenburger, his mother’s boyfriend and a step-father figure to Brenan. After experimenting with a variety of boxes, Rotenburger settled on a rectangular cardboard box attached to the bike’s rear basket with zip ties. He even painted the box to match the brown coat of the UPS trucks.

“Why do you like your truck?” Wilson asked her son.

His response was simple. “Because it’s cool!”

On July 18, Brenan’s 16th birthday, he received more than just a delivery. He and his family were invited to tour the UPS facility in Columbia, where he got the full experience. When he had finished washing trucks, scanning packages and posing behind the wheel, a large group of delivery drivers — including Aulbur — were there to sing “Happy Birthday” and present Brenan with a host of UPS goodies. They also took a group photo together to celebrate his big day.

“They even seemed to enjoy it just as much as we did,” Wilson said. “I don’t know how often they have kids come in there and say … their dream is to see the UPS factory. But they made his dream come true, so that’s really all that matters to me.”

While on the tour, the family discovered that Brenan’s feeding supplies were on Aulbur’s truck that day. The discovery set an additional plan in motion. That afternoon, when Aulbur delivered the package to the family’s home, Brenan was sitting in the passenger seat next to him, dressed in UPS gear from head to toe.

“He had his UPS shirt, his hat, the UPS socks, had his brown shorts on, he was dressed just like a UPS driver,” Wilson said. “And then he walked back to the truck and got another box, and there was a delivery across the street from that house. Travis shows him that you have to write down on the little scanner that they weren’t home or that they left it at the front door.”

Wilson posted a video of the two making deliveries on her Facebook page. As of late July 25, the video had racked up five thousand views.

“I think it’s pretty cool that people that don’t even know us that well … are that excited for him to have that kind of moment,” Wilson said.

Luckily for Brenan and his family, these moments are well-documented. Rotenburger uses his love for photography and videography to make sure every moment is captured and preserved.

“It’s one of those things that you can’t tell people about,” Rotenburger said. “(I think it’s better to) show people this is what I see every day when (Brenan) rides out of the garage or when he’s making deliveries and stuff like that.”

Brenan’s unique passion for the company is uncommon, to say the least. Aulbur said he has never met a kid who likes UPS so much.

“It’s kind of nice having somebody like that (who) likes the delivery part of it and is interested in it,” he said.

While Aulbur has made quite the impact on Brenan, Aulbur doesn’t see his actions as extraordinary.

“I just like going out there and anything I can do to help a customer out,” he said. “Anything I can do to help them out and let (Brenan) experience it a little bit more and just make it a little bit more fun for him.”

Next time you’re expecting a delivery, don’t panic if the UPS truck passes you by — a boy on a bicycle may be riding your way.

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