Interview: Joell Ortiz Talks His Life-Changing Car Accident, Working at UPS, and Looking for a New Car

Interview: Joell Ortiz Talks His Life-Changing Car Accident, Working at UPS, and Looking for a New Car

What was it like doing UPS for a week?

It sucked! [Laughs]. But this is why it sucked: Because I was told by my mom as a youngin’ that you do your best and you excel and you will be rewarded. So, my first dose of it was when I got my first job. Of course high school was, too. I got my diploma and I got scholarship offers for athletic and academic reasons, but I elected to stay home, because my mom was on drugs. So, I made that decision. I was not going to leave my mom behind and be at this Division 1 school playing ball and doing everything and get a call that she OD’ed or something. So, I elected to stay home. When I stayed home, I was a bum. I needed something to earn money. I didn’t turn to the streets first, I went to UPS.

I had this supervisor named Mark, and day one was showing me the ropes, day two was actually starting the job. He’s like, “Okay, here’s what you got to do: This is your trailer. I need minimum 800 boxes scanned and packed.” I was working the graveyard shift from 11 p.m - 7 a.m. So, I wanted to impress this dude. It’s three in the morning now, I still have four hours left. I got 900 and some boxes in, there’s no more room on the trailer. So I show Mark, and he goes, “Already? It’s only 3 a.m. Wow. Come with me.” He brought me to an empty trailer and said, “Do that again.”

I never wanted to lift anything or do that ever again. That was my reward: more work. I thought he’d be like, “That’s awesome.” I’m not cut out for that. I didn’t feel good loading. I didn’t feel good scanning. I didn’t feel good about anything, but I was trying to do the right thing. I gutted it out for a week, got my check and then spoke to the dudes that were rolling around in the nice whips without having a job. And they showed me a different way and different boxes to package [Laughs].

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