05-19-2004, 09:05 AM #1Former Member
- Join Date
- Aug 2003
- In heels
His Long Road: Delivering to Stars, Watching for Cars
Bill Sender has been driving so long he doesn't even have to use the clutch anymore to shift his double-loaded big rig on the freeway. Which comes in handy, as he says, when cellphone-using, burger-eating four-wheelers (that's us) cut in front of his rig and force him to slow down fast to avoid squashing them.
Sender has made it through 42 years of driving for UPS without squashing anyone. He's had just two fender-benders (in years five and seven of his employment) and has received so many prizes from the company for his safety record that he's taken to giving them away. He has two big TV sets that were safety prizes, and his son and daughter each have one.
At 66, Sender has a friendly, deeply scored face. The cab of his truck smells faintly of cigarette smoke.
Sender's view of the world is shaped by driving. His view of people is shaped by the way they act on the road — and by the way they treated him during the 15 years he drove UPS delivery trucks before switching to big rigs.
In those days, Sender was delivering packages in Beverly Hills. He started in 1962, picking up the route because a driver with seniority wanted a gig with better parking.
Back then, big stars had big houses in Beverly Hills. Sender delivered their packages, and had crack-in-the-door access to their lives.
"Peggy Lee was very nice, very friendly. Randolph Scott, he was friendly. James Stewart, friendly. They didn't treat you just like a guy who was delivering something and not worth saying hello to," Sender said.
He knew who was moving (Jack Lemmon once had boxes all over his living room), who liked to drink (Oscar winner Broderick Crawford frequently answered the door with a beer) and who had kids (Jamie Lee Curtis was a little girl when Sender delivered to the home of Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis).
Once, he saw Elvis Presley coming out of a sporting goods store with four bodyguards.
Delivering a package to a doctor, Sender met Dean Martin and Rock Hudson in the waiting room.
Sender frequently delivered packages to the William Morris Agency, where many stars kept offices. One day he ran into Groucho Marx.
" 'Eeeeey, what's goin' on, kiddo?" Groucho said to him. Sender still remembers that.
Not everyone, he said, was nice. "A couple of unfriendlies would be Barbra Streisand and Liza Minelli," Sender said. "They'd be getting their nails done and you'd hold the elevator door open for them and they wouldn't even look at you. They'd never thank you."
He remembers, too, what some drove — or didn't.
"You'd see a lot of those comedic gals — Phyllis Diller — riding around in a convertible with the top down," Sender said.