There’s just nothing like the anticipation of opening a package, so everyone loves it when the big brown truck stops in front of their house. UPS driver Gabe Amaya is Niwot’s main guy in the brown uniform driving that brown truck. The Courier wanted more than just a friendly wave “hello” from the reliable person who makes hundreds of stops around town. So we asked Amaya some questions and learned that his ties to the town run deeper than his daily route.
Left Hand Valley Courier (LHVC) – Where did you grow up?
Gabe Amaya (GA) - I'm actually a native to Longmont and went to Niwot Elementary through Niwot High School. I graduated in 1999. I'm still friends with quite a few of the people who came all the way up through Niwot as well.
LHVC - What jobs have you had and how long have you been a UPS driver?
GA - I’ve always worked at my family lumber yard making furniture, chopping wood, etc. In high school I ventured out and worked at Head Athletics and Bison Designs. I had a short stint in telemarketing, but that wasn't for me. I started working at UPS at 20 and began driving when I was 21. I was happy to sneak into UPS and become a driver much earlier than is typical. I was going to take advantage of their college benefits, but I liked driving and, if the shoe fits... I've been a driver for 17 years now.
LHVC - How long has Niwot been your assigned route?
GA - I started by "swing driving" (when you change routes every day) and drove primarily in Erie, Niwot, South Longmont, and Estes Park. I always loved working Mike Murphy's [Niwot] route when he was out of town. Mike became a mentor and dear friend of mine. When he became ill, I inherited his route on May 1, 2013 and I'm proud to say that it's still called "Murf's route" today.
LHVC - What parts of your job are the most rewarding and the most challenging?
GA - The most rewarding part of my job is easily all the friendships I've made throughout the years. I love seeing how time passes through towns and neighborhoods, and I'm grateful for the interest and compassion from my customers. The most challenging part is dealing with inconsistent and unpredictable hours and the weather challenges each season brings.
LHVC - What influences have played a big role in your life?
GA - The thing that’s always helped me and taught me the most in life has been sports. I feel the lessons I learned through youth and high school sports helped shape me into the man I am today. I love the grit, camaraderie, and friendships that I’ve gained during those times.
LHVC - Tell us about your family.
GA - I have a wife, Laura, a son Avery, 11-years old ,and daughter Brooke, 7-years old. I met my wife in Coach Koehler's PE class my sophomore year at Niwot. I have a huge family in the area. My family owns the lumber yard on the Diagonal and I love to swing by for some of grandma’s homemade tortillas. My parents, three siblings, and their families, my mother-in-law plus many aunts, uncles, and cousins live in the area. My youngest brother and his partner live in Seattle so at least we have someone to visit.
LHVC- What interests keep you busy?
GA - My biggest hobby is definitely fly fishing. When I'm not at work, I'm likely on the river. I also enjoy watching my kids do the things they love: football, gymnastics, and anything outdoors. We also love camping and riding bikes. I love the Dallas Cowboys and watching other sporting events. I should also mention that I love coaching my son’s flag football team and thoroughly enjoy helping develop a love for sports in kids.
LHVC - Any plans you're looking forward to in the near future?
GA - I'm excited to be planning a fishing trip to Alaska with my friends and I'm always looking forward to trips with my wife and kids whenever we can get away. My goal is simply to enjoy life, make the most of small conversations, time spent in nature (mostly on rivers), and watch my kids grow up.
LHVC – What would people be surprised to learn about you?
GA - I love reading about World War II, I talk on the phone about 3,000 minutes per month, and I walk seven to nine miles per day, which means my five-day-a week-habit of Dairy Queen is doable.
The Courier runs the Familiar Face column each month. If you have a suggestion for a profile of a Familiar Face you see in Niwot, Gunbarrel or South Longmont, please email your idea to Editorial@LHVC.com.