UPS Driver Goes Viral for Taking Adorable Selfies With Dogs He Meets During Delivery Route
A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.
Fresh air, driving about town and cuddling with dogs? Sounds like a sweet gig, right?
Jason Hardesty, a 32-year-old UPS driver, spends his days zipping around delivering packages and parcels to people along his neighborhood route in New Orleans, Louisiana. And the best part? The selfies he captures along the way … but not your typical human selfies. These ones are with all the adorable dogs he meets along the way!
“Every time I see a dog, I definitely get more excited than I used to,” the 11-year UPS professional told Good Morning America. Each day is an exciting new adventure for Hardisty, never knowing which new furry friends he will encounter!
Dogs Make People Happy
It was two years ago that Hardisty began snapping pics of the many friendly, happy pets he met on his route each day. His previous route had mainly guard dogs and protective dogs that he wasn’t able to interact with that much. But when he found himself swapped to a new route, his life was totally changed!
“I picked up a dog, just goofing around on a Friday. I took a photo with him, posted it on my Instagram and he got me more likes than I’ve ever seen. So, every Friday, I try to keep up with that.”
Tagging his photos with the hashtag #pupsofjay as a photo album for himself, he never thought his photos would catch the attention of the world and go viral! Hardisty’s pet adventures have earned him almost 120,000 followers on Instagram, and major engagement with thousands of likes on each of his posts.
Man’s Best Friend
“The best part of the job is taking random breaks and hanging out with buddies, like my friend Mac, here,” Hardesty jokes, motioning to a happy pup. “We’ve been friends for about three years. We sit down, beat the heat, and have a nice conversation about some cats.”
Sounds like a pretty good chat to me!
Retrievers, Poodles, Shih Tzus, Pitbulls, Dachshunds, Pomeranians and even a goat are just some of the friends that Hardisty has made along the way.
From Dog Lover to Online Celebrity
His massive social media following has made Hardesty a bit of a superstar with the customers on his daily route.
“Owners are pretty cool when I ask them to take a photo with their dogs because they’re like …’You’re going to make my dog famous!’ I get a lot of positive feedback. I really appreciate that because the (past) years have been horrible and the fact that I can make someone smile for even a second means a lot to me.”
His hashtag quickly become a local fixture in New Orleans but gained national attention after writer Jami Attenberg tweeted:
“I have extremely important news and it is this: my sweet UPS guy has a hashtag for all the dogs in the neighborhood!”
Even though he meets an endless array of good dogs, he tries to limit himself to one post a week.
“I don’t want my account to be known as only a dog account, but I’ll still find a cute dog and post it that week,” said Hardesty, following up saying that he likes to post early Friday evenings, right when folks are getting off work, as a nice way to start off the weekend.
Spreading Joy Everyday
Hardesty recently had a heartwarming encounter with a pair of Welsh Corgis about to leave the neighborhood.
“There are two dogs,” he said of the former Welsh Corgi regulars on his route. “One of them really loved me and the other was really shy. But when they moved away, the second one finally let me play with her and pet her, like two days before they moved. That was really cool.”
But for all the good dogs he sees during his day job, Hardesty doesn’t have one of his own.
“I don’t have the time to take care of a dog,” he said. “That’s why I play with other people’s when I can.”
Take this as a sign to go out and pet a friendly pup today!