ANCHORAGE – Chances are, Willie Mua and Edress Irving get more done before 9 a.m. than you do all day.
The two veteran delivery drivers for
Between them, they’ll make 20 to 30 stops over the course of a 10-hour shift, delivering drinks and restocking shelves in mom-and-pop convenience stories, gas stations, offices, supermarkets and big-box retailers along their respective routes.
It’s hard work, but rewarding thanks largely to the camaraderie they share with the neighbors they visit each week.
But a commitment to customer service, and to the local community, has remained constant.
“I have great relationships with my customers, many of whom I’ve delivered to for years. They know me,” said Mua, who joined the
Irving says he delivers more than Coke. He delivers happiness.
“When you walk in and people smile, it feels good,” he said. “It’s like family in a sense because I’ve been delivering to them for so many years. You become attached. And that makes the job that much easier and more enjoyable.”
Mua, who was born in American Samoa and lived in Hawaii before moving to Anchorage in 1991, loves the quiet calm and productivity of the pre-dawn hours. Alaska’s seasonal daylight patterns, he admits, do present a few challenges.
“The hardest part is getting up at 3 a.m.,” he says with a laugh. “In the summer, we have 24 hours of daylight. And in the winter, it’s the opposite… it’s dark all the time, and it’s cold. After my shift, sometimes I’ll take a nap and wake up thinking it’s the next day.”
This schedule enables both men to be with their families and stay active with church and volunteer activities. “I’ve raised all four of my kids thanks to this job,” said Irving, who’s also a grandfather. “I’ve had the flexibility and time to be very active with my kids and to spend more quality time with them. That’s a blessing in itself.”
He’s proud of his association with both a classic American brand and a company with deep, local roots. “I take a lot of pride in the fact that I work for
Mua, a father of five, agrees. “I tell my boss that I do everything with pride. I’m happy to be part of the
And this pride has rubbed off on his family. His 12-year-old son even hopes to one day follow in his dad’s footsteps. “He said, ‘Dad, I want to drive a