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UPS drivers host birthday parade for co-worker who recovered from COVID-19

William Torres had spent two months in the hospital before he was able to come home and see his...
William Torres had spent two months in the hospital before he was able to come home and see his friends and family again.(Shane Battis)
Published: Mar. 27, 2021 at 8:16 PM CDT
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MIDLAND, Texas (KOSA) -

For two months, a longtime UPS employee has battled COVID-19 at Midland Memorial Hospital. After he was released, his co-workers rallied to celebrate his birthday with a very special delivery.

UPS trucks, motorcycles and decorated cars all lined up to wish a happy birthday to an old friend who drivers say is one of a kind.

“He’s one that will light up a room when he walks in with just a smile,” Lori Ripplinger said.

“He’s one of those ones that you’ll never forget the way he comes in,” Simon Sanchez said. “He makes it known that he’s there. Smiles every day.”

The team said they’ve been worried about their co-worker William Torres after they found out how hard the virus hit him.

The parade is the first time many have seen him since December and they had hoped the crew can put a smile on his face.

Torres said he was overjoyed to see so many old friends pay him a visit and show how much they love him.

“Oh it was great,” Torres said. “Cause in the hospital I got to have one guest and my wife would go every day. But seeing a bunch of people is a totally different thing.”

It’s support he can certainly use after he went through a difficult 64 days in the hospital after his diagnosis. He said doctors kept him in the ICU for part of that time when his lungs began to struggle.

“It was like you can’t breathe,” he said. “Like let me cover your mouth with my hand and leave you just a little opening for you to breathe.”

For a while, Torres thought the virus might kill him, but he got better and now he’s working every day to keep getting stronger so he can get back to 100%.

He wont be doing it alone.

“The UPS family, we stick together,” Sanchez said. “With every one that showed up it’s gladly appreciated. I know it made his day cause it was unexpected from where he was a couple months ago to where he is now.”

As he continues to recover, Torres said he hopes other people take the virus seriously so they don’t have to go through what he did.

“A lot of people catch it and they get a mild version of it,” he said. “But if you get the severe version like I did it’s going to try to kill you. I say wear your mask. It’s worth dying for, y’know?”

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