Special little boy gets a very special package

Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Behind Drake Barlow and his special friend Curtis Johnson are John Sanders and Jeremy Haynes.

By Ivory Riner

Staff Writer

With all the crime and misfortune happening in the world today, employees of a very well-known shipping company have reached into Marshall County to show their love for a little boy nearly 1,200 miles away.

United Parcel Service uses an internal website to keep employees up-to-date with news and happenings. This is where Dana Sicard read the Tribune's Jan. 7 story about Drake Barlow and UPS driver Curtis Johnson's friendship with him. Sicard decided to send Barlow a package from his store in South Hadley, Mass.

"A mended heart is a special heart," is what was embroidered on the shirt Barlow was wearing under his UPS uniform when his favorite driver surprised him on Monday.

Nervously waiting at the door, Barlow's mended heart started racing as he saw his favorite driver, Curtis Johnson, pull up in his UPS truck.

Honking the horn as he always does when driving past Barlow's house, Johnson jumped out of his truck, waving and smiling as he approached 3-year-old Barlow who was knocking on the glass door and shouting in excitement.

Barlow was born with Double Inlet Left Ventricle (DILV) and Mitral Artresia, meaning his aorta is too small. He has gone through three open-heart surgeries, but made it out strong.

After Johnson greeted Barlow, John Sanders and Jeremy Haynes, UPS drivers, also pulled in behind Johnson's truck.

The two approached the Barlows' home with the large package addressed to Drake. Johnson helped reveal what was inside.

Barlow was ecstatic to find what had been sent to him. Several hats and toy cars, a lunch box, a New England Patriots blanket, a water jug, and a vest with his name embroidered on it were in the box, all with the UPS logo on them.

"He reminded me of my grandson and it touched my heart," said Sicard, during a phone interview.

"There's this little guy who's three years old with heart issues and here I am 48 years older than him walking around not even thinking about having those sort of problems. It makes you thank how fortunate you are as a person. I decided to send the package to reach out to him and show him that people do care."

Although Barlow may be excited with what's in the package now, it's what was taped to the outside of the box that he will cherish once he is older.

"We hope for the best for 'our' special little family member, please keep me posted as time goes along. May God bless you and your son," Sicard wrote in a letter to Drake's parents, Jill and Eric Barlow.

Sicard furthermore listed in the letter the many UPS employees and businesses that donated to the package that was sent to Barlow.