Every day, many meal delivery drivers for our organization get up at the crack of dawn to begin their day. They pack and load up hundreds of pounds of bagged meals daily and navigate city streets to ensure that every homebound senior on their delivery route receives their meals. Ken Leaf is one such colleague and shared this wonderful story and photo essay highlighting his “day in a life” as a Meals on Wheels driver.
My name is Ken Leaf and I work as a delivery person for Meals on Wheels San Francisco. I have been working here for just over a year now. My workday starts at 7:00 am but I often leave for work early before the sun even rises. I enjoy the city in these early hours and I often take the long way for some quiet time before my work day starts. I often bring my camera with me to capture images of the city in the early morning light.
I work with a really terrific group of people here. We all meet in the morning to clock in and get our route sheets for the day. This brief gathering with these people is one of my favorite times in my work day.
Our work does have challenges. Navigating traffic and parking downtown can be stressful and the work is at times quite physical. My fellow drivers share these experiences with me. They motivate me and are usually cheerful.
I like to be out in the world. Making deliveries to various areas of the City is something that I enjoy. I might start my day in Chinatown and finish in the Mission. I have learned much more about the city than I could have imagined.
I also find many of the clients, case managers, receptionists, and security people that I interact with daily are usually friendly and helpful. The work is not always smooth sailing but I take comfort in knowing that my work is helping them. Some of the clients that I deliver to regularly don’t have a lot of contact with many people. I see how happy and excited some of them are when I arrive with their meals. When I am able to I will spend a few minutes with them and chat. I can see that a little human contact can make a big difference in their day.
One of my favorite memories was when I made a delivery to an elderly fellow near Colombus Street. I was thinking about this part of town and how the Beatniks once populated it. With this in mind, I asked this man how long he lived there and if he had experienced this movement. As it turned out he is a self-proclaimed Beatnik and shared some stories with me about that time and the movement.
This was a fantastic day for me.