Addison UPS drivers get walking lesson from penguin

Rare are the moments that a shuffling penguin takes a spill on the ice. Less rare, however, are the slips and falls by UPS drivers delivering packages during the slippery winter months.

To combat all that, UPS has a sponsorship deal with the Chicago Zoological Society that allowed a resident of the Brookfield Zoo to visit the Addison UPS facility Thursday and teach drivers how to walk. Mimicking a penguin's sure-footed technique, officials hope to reduce the 23 slip-and-fall injuries they suffered between October and March.

Pepe, a 6-month-old Humboldt penguin, shuffled his way through the delivery center teaching drivers the correct way to walk.

"This is something we do every year as we head into the winter months. We always have some sort of safety message or demonstration," UPS spokeswoman Christine Hand. "Pepe gave us a great visual demonstration today that will hopefully stick in our drivers heads."

Driver Flozell Mister said it was hard to think winter when he was still wearing shorts Thursday but agreed the visual will stick with him.

"Most definitely. I'll use it," he said. "That'll be me out there shuffling around."

Brookfield Zoo's Bird and Reptile curator Tim Snyder said Pepe would likely never encounter snow or ice in his native Peru, but all penguins walk the same.

"Pepe is an ambassador animal at the zoo so whenever he makes an appearance, we try and educate people about the conservation projects we do in the wild," Snyder said. "In the case of the Humboldt penguins in Peru, we support the Punta San Juan project, which is a reserve and breeding colony for penguins in the wild. So today, Pepe is helping UPS and his wild cousins down in Peru."

  Pepe, a 6-month-old Humboldt penguin from Brookfield Zoo, was a hit Thursday morning at the Addison UPS facility. His visit was part of UPS’s Walk Like a Penguin campaign to help promote walking safely on the snow and ice. Bev Horne/
  Pepe, a 6-month-old Humboldt penguin from Brookfield Zoo, greeted UPS employees in Addison Thursday as part of UPS’s Walk Like a Penguin campaign. Bev Horne/

Walk like a penguin

ŸPoint your feet out slightly while walking on ice to improve your center of gravity.

ŸBend your knees slightly and walk flat footed.

ŸExtend your arms out to help maintain your balance.

ŸTake short steps or shuffle when you walk.

ŸKeep your hands out of your pockets. This decreases your ability to balance.

Source: UPS

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