Beloved Rochester Delivery Driver ‘UPS Mike’ Retires After 45 Years


Rochester residents simply call him “UPS Mike.”

One resident, Brian Fagernes, 49, has received deliveries from UPS Mike since childhood. Until a few years ago, Fagernes didn’t even know Mike’s last name.

“He used to eat lunch in my dad’s shop, and that was 30 years ago,” Fagernes said.

A sign in Rochester congratulating “UPS Mike” on his retirement after nearly five decades, Fagernes said, was, “The only thing I’ve ever seen everyone agree on on social media.”

Mike Cain, of Centralia, spent almost all his 45 years with UPS Global Shipping as a delivery driver in Rochester. He and wife Renette are Centralia residents, Cain said, but “might as well be” from Rochester.

After all that time, he’s become a beloved member of the South Thurston County community. On Thursday, Cain celebrated his retirement in the Chehalis UPS distribution center, surrounded by friends, family, customers and coworkers of all ages. He’s the first in the Chehalis center to reach 45 years.

“Oh, it’s just enriching,” Cain said of his work with generations of customer families. “Like the little engine that could. That storybook for children, the little engine can push this bigger engine up. Kids are coming to the fence lines, waving.”

Last week, the sign in Rochester to congratulate Cain, he said, “just lit my world up.”

Cain was a 19-year-old college student when hired by UPS as a truck washer. At 21, he became eligible to drive the delivery trucks. He met Renette during those first few years on the job. Now, they have grandchildren.

His retirement signals the first time in their marriage he’s been Mike Cain, not just “UPS Mike,” and the duo have big dreams for their first years out of the workforce. Hawaii, RV trips, backpacking, hiking and much more, Cain said. Outside his career, backpacking in the South Cascades is his biggest passion.

The Teamsters union gets credit for his longevity, Cain said, especially as union representation isn’t a sure thing for employees at other delivery companies.

“They just negotiate very well,” he said. “It’s kept me here. I’ve paid union dues my whole life. I’m a very strong advocate for the Teamsters.”

UPS’s dedication to safety and training is also an incentive, Cain said, especially with delivery drivers in increasingly high demand.

This last week on the job has been especially enriching, Cain said, though bittersweet. His wife, too, feels a kinship with Cain’s longtime customers.

UPS Mike has been around Rochester for about “three generations,” he said. “I’d have snowball fights with ‘em. The customers become family. … That means a lot to us.”