PARTOUN, Juab County — It’s hard to describe what the middle of nowhere is like, until you go there.
“It’s the peace and quiet,” said Don Anderson, who grins and smiles when people tell him he lives in the middle of nowhere. “This is home, where you can hear all the birds and see all the stars. When people come here, they love it.”
Anderson owns a cattle ranch in Utah’s West Desert, in the remote community of Callao.
However, when something breaks on his ranch and he needs parts, the closest Walmart or Home Depot is about three hours away.
“Not every day is easy, because it’s a long way to anywhere,” Anderson said.
That’s a big reason why the sight of a brown UPS truck with a dust trail behind it is enough to bring a smile to the face of even the toughest rancher out here.
It means DJ Finlinson is bringing something to them.
“That’s my friend and he’s gonna keep me going,” Anderson said.
But, what Finlinson didn’t know on this seemingly ordinary day, was his delivery to West Desert High School in Partoun was going to be one he’ll never forget.
After all these years, his customers were delivering something special to him, and he had no idea.
As soon as he arrived at the school Thursday afternoon, the secretary who answered the door led him to the cafeteria where about 50 people were waiting to see him.
It was a surprise party, full of food, speeches, and songs.
It was to thank him for his almost 37 years of service and hopefully many more to come.
“Did you know about this and why didn’t you tell me?” he said with a laugh while pointing to people he knew.
Even his wife and family were part of the surprise, as well as another UPS driver, to finish today’s job.
It’s estimated Finlinson has driven close to 4 million miles, leaving every morning from his home in Oak City, and driving nearly 500 miles a day to small communities like Trout Creek, Partoun, Gandy, Callao, Ibapah, and Gold Hill… just to name a few.
“It’s always nice to open the door and have DJ there,” said Barb Mumm, who lives in Partoun. “You just look for him and you look out for him, rain or shine.”
Finlinson has delivered packages in all types of weather and thinks he has changed more than 400 flat tires on his truck driving on all the dirt roads.
“I keep three spare tires with me, and one day, I used all three,” he said with a laugh.
However, he said he knows what’s in those boxes in the back of his truck are often important items people are waiting for.
He wants to make sure they’re delivered, no matter what.
“I love the people. I have to be honest. I do. They all make you feel like the only guy in the world. They make me feel like I am part of their family. But had I gotten wind of this, I probably would have gone around,” he said with a laugh.
Finlinson isn’t a man of many words. However, on this day, you can’t blame him for being speechless.
We're sorry, currently this live video stream is only available inside of Utah or an approved RSL broadcast territory.
We base your location on your IP address. Some providers IP addresses may show your location outside of the state, even though you are physically within the state boundaries. For more information about RSL on KSL, please see our FAQ.