SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – Customers who were friends with one of three drivers killed in the mass shooting at the San Francisco UPS facility this week on Friday remembered how Wayne Chan was much more than a delivery man.
The veteran driver was on a first-name basis with many of the people he delivered to, making a huge impression on the community he served for more than a decade.
“I did not put it together. I just never thought that this could be him,” said Cole Valley resident Dorothee Poetter.
From Cole Valley to the Haight-Ashbury, the news is slowly following the route chan drove for 15 years.
“Parked my car, turned the corner, saw Wayne’s truck, where it always is. I just broke down,” said business owner Kent Uyehara.
“Always smiling. Always happy. Always wore shorts, in any kind of weather,” said Haight-Ashbury customer Cecile Bodington.
“Just the nicest guy in the world. Everything that came out of his mouth was completely personable,” said another friend, Kerry Yarborough.
One after another, neighbors and business owners described a man that didn’t just drop off boxes; he delivered a sense of community.
“He wasn’t just there at the door with a package. He was down the street waving, saying, ‘Have a nice day,” said Bodington.
“I used to tell everybody all the time: the best thing about UPS is Wayne,” said Uyehara. “No disrespect to the company, but that’s how big a difference that guy made.”
And Chan’s loss has now made a big difference in this neighborhood. It is the kind of loss that reminds you what a neighborhood really is or — more accurately — who makes a neighborhood.
“One of these guys,” said Bodington, pointing at the garbage collectors in their truck nearby. “I just said, ‘I don’t want to make the same mistake. I want to make a point of telling you how important you are to our community.’ And I never thought of saying that to Wayne.”
“He basically saw my boyfriend become my husband; my baby become a kindergartner. If you see the picture — the way he smiles at the camera, and me and my son — it’s just so like him,” said Poetter. “So open and loving and smiling and friendly. This picture really captures his personality – to all of us here on the street and in the neighborhood.”
“He was just part of the fabric of this community, and it’s a real loss,” said Bodington.
Neighbors are still waiting to hear from Chan’s family on how best to help his wife and two children.