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'I like being a role model to help kids with Down syndrome.': UPS makes a heartwarming hire

Alabama native Jake Pratt is stealing the internet while becoming the face of diversity and adversity all while delivering packages.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — One is tall, the other is short – the two, an unlikely pairing working for one company with one goal in mind.

“Doing my job, I have to carry my package to people’s houses and say happy holidays to them.”

On Dec. 1, Amy Hyde posted a photo of her brother, 21-year-old Jake Pratt, thanking UPS for giving Jake a chance.

The two had no idea a single photo would take the internet and country by the heartstrings.

“Honestly nothing surprises me when it comes to Jake anymore – so I didn't really expect it to blow up, but Jake is so charismatic and he loves people and in return, people love Jake,” Hyde said.

Jake said his neighbors Joey and Wade encouraged him to apply to UPS.

“He just applied just like any normal person off the street, but we do have a couple of neighbors who work for UPS and when they knew he was looking for a job they know how hard of a worker Jake is,” Hyde said.

After ten rigorous training sessions he's now cruising down the streets of Alabama with Richard by his side.

“My driver is Richard Wilson and I like his personality I like hanging out with him we go to Starbucks together we do everything,” Jake said.

Hyde added, “We are so thankful for UPS for giving him this opportunity because it’s hard for someone with a disability who will have an employer who will give them that chance.”

Jim Mayer the UPS spokesperson says locally, Louisville also employs nearly 200 disabled people.

“We think this is just wonderful that Jake is working for us, this really is ups walking the walk on their commitment to diversity,” he said. “Here in Louisville we have a program the transitional learning center where it's a program for people with a disability to essentially try on a job we work with a nonprofit they identify potential candidates and there's a special training program where potential employees could try on the job see if it's a good fit.”

What does a typical day for a UPS worker look like, you ask?

“So when I wake up in the morning, I go to the golf course at 5 o'clock and then at 10 o'clock I go to UPS,” Jake said.

Jake also holds a job at a golf course 7 days a week.

Credit: WHAS-TV
Jake Pratt

Routine is key and after getting home Jake eats dinner and then he makes his own lunch.

“He has insisted that since starting both jobs he loves both jobs I mean he works all these hours and I swear to you he would work more if he could,” Hyde said. 

He's a kid whose parents were once told he'd never live a normal life and would likely be institutionalized and now Jake is killing people with kindness while disproving that something could hold you back.

“I like being a role model to help kids with Down syndrome.”

Jake says he is saving for his future, putting money aside to buy his longtime girlfriend Grace an engagement ring. 

Contact reporter Paulina Bucka at pbucka@whas11.com.  Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.  

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