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Customers Package Complaints to FedEx After Beloved Driver Canned

Barry Gilliam's contract was terminated after 11 years on the East Hampton route; his customers demand him back.

Barry Gilliam quietly delivered his last FedEx package in East Hampton on Thursday — the day his contract terminated.

It didn't take long for customers to notice Gilliam and his big smile weren't around. Immediately, there was an outpouring of support from the East Hampton community and a growing effort to get him reinstated.

On Facebook, customers spread the word Friday night, sharing FedEx phone numbers and email addresses to lodge complaints. The message was clear: Reinstate Gilliam on the East Hampton route, or we'll take our business to UPS.

Gilliam, a Calverton resident, delivered FedEx packages on his route from Wainscott to East Hampton Village to Springs for 11 years as an independent contractor, which is how the corporate model is set up. He owns two trucks and has a helper, Jesse Cummings, of Mastic, who delivers mainly to Springs.

On Saturday, Gilliam said he was shocked to learn there was such a strong response to his departure, though as he spoke about the people along his more than 100-stops a day route, the bond he has formed with them was evident. "One of the hardest things, really, I've had to do is to turn around and say this is the end," he said.

Gilliam explained FedEx terminated his contract after the corporation discovered he was out of compliance with its regulations for contractors; FedEx requires its contractors to be listed as an S corporation and his business entity is currently listed as a C corporation.

The problem could have been rectified by the end of the month, but his request for an extension was refused, he said.

He said his business was once listed as an S corporation and only changed when a new accountant thought it was in his best interest to be listed as a C corporation, not realizing the FedEx mandate, Gilliam said.

His managing supervisor first notified him he was out of compliance in June, at the start of the busiest time in the Hamptons and on his route. The company didn't explain what the specific problem was, just that something was not right, he said.

"I have to, no matter what, get the packages out," he said. "I was told the customers were first."

Between his long work days and dealing with a divorce, he simply didn't have time until the end of the summer to go through paperwork and pinpoint the problem. He said he and his accountant figured it out two weeks ago, but were told it was too late.

"I have nothing against FedEx. I just couldn't do it in the time they were allowing me. I needed more time," he said. "I've given them 110 percent. I'm asking them to give me 110 percent."

Gilliam, an East Hampton native, started working for FedEx 15 years ago after working at hardware stores in Amagansett and Montauk. He worked on routes in Sag Harbor and Hampton Bays, until the East Hampton route became available and he purchased it.

He brought with him to the job something his father, East Hampton resident Ben Gilliam, instilled in him back when he was a kid helping his father on a Farmland milk delivery route. "He's the one who taught me it's all about the customers," he said, adding his dad would make him move the milk already in the store to the front of the shelves even though that wasn't their job.

Gilliam joined FedEx during a time when he was looking for a more fulfilling job, he said. "I love it. It's like a puzzle. You have to figure out the best way to deliver. From the time I scanned my first package and delivered it, I knew this was it for me."

He often works 12 hour days — getting up at 5 a.m., getting to the terminal in Holbrook by 7 to 7:30 a.m., sitting in traffic to get to the South Fork, doing deliveries, then picking up packages and bringing them back to Holbrook. The lifestyle isn't easy, especially with a 5-year-old daughter, Addison, but he said it provides well for her.

Valerie Smith, whose store, The Monogram Shop, has been in business 17 years, said she was "appalled" to learn he was terminated. "He is the single most cheerful, helpful and wonderful man I encounter every week. There's no one like him. No one."

"I only ship out with FedEx and it's because of him," said Stephanie Tekulsky, the owner of Steph's Stuff, a locally owned business for 18 years. She said he looks out for her, returning later in the day if her pick-up isn't ready. Once over a busy July Fourth weekend, he kept a huge shipment out until Monday so that it wasn't clogging up her store. "There's no way I could have dealt with it on a Saturday of a holiday weekend and he knew," she said.

Bruce Cotter, the owner of Hamptons Gym Corp which has a gym in East Hampton Village, said Gilliam's attitude is contagious. "I never saw the guy without a smile on his face — he's always good for a honk, wave, a shout out. He's just the kind of guy that when you happened to see him on the street or while receiving a delivery, it made your day a little bit better."

Penny Benbeneck said Gilliam has delivered to her home and work place. She called him "the best advertisement that FedEx could have." She said he always has a smile, gives a wave, courteously opens the door. "I guess what I really want to say is, he is a gentleman —a rarity in that industry these days where things are so impersonal," she said.

"I have never not been greeted warmly by him, sent off with a positive feeling that will last long into my day and bring a smile to my face. He works hard, endures weather, traffic and people and does it with such class."

In an interview with Patch on Saturday, Gilliam saw for the first time the messages people were sharing in the hopes to get him back. He said it was overwhelming. "I feel like the Yankees or something," he said.

He said he wants his customers to know: "I love them. Thank you, thank you. They have no idea how I really feel for them."

FedEx Media Relations did not respond to a request for comment on Saturday.

The number for FedEx is 1-800-GO-FEDEX (463-3339). The case number started already is 1012742771.

Doreen Magee Gilliam Jones October 15, 2012 at 05:06 AM
I say upgrade the man's contract and let him get back to the customers who obviously enjoy doing business with him!!
MJ October 15, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Barry represents what most companies hope for when they send out someone to represent!!!!!! He always has a great attitude and a smile. I hope that Fed Ex realizes that they have made a BIG mistake, over paperwork to be filed. Keep the faith Barry, you are appreciated man!!!!!!!!
Steve Spataro October 15, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Fed Ex -Toll Free 1.800.463.3339 CEO personal telephone number FedEx CEO Contact Info Frederick W. Smith (wife: Diane) 649 SWEETBRIAR MEMPHIS, TN 38120 (901) 683-9266 ADDRESS VERIFIED
Steve Spataro October 15, 2012 at 01:26 PM
if you get nowhere with the 1800, then give the CEO a call.
Robert L Remkus October 15, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Barry does go above and beyond. He is a credit to the company and is part of the fabric that makes Fed Ex tick. He is one and a million. I have never met anyone more happy and competent in their job. We have been lucky to have him and need him back as soon as possible. He gives personal service which is missing from many of the major corporations today.
Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) October 15, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Some more comments from our Facebook page: KL Jones: No way! He did his job with pride and a smile...this is totally whacked ...we are letting fed ex know! EHyouth Lacrosse: No way FedEx!! Barry ... always smiling no matter how heavy or bulky our lax deliveries are !!! Lisa Cramer: Barry has delivered every package since I've been at the library with genuine smiles and a fist pump touch : ) followed always, ALWAYS with words of cheer. Astonishing. And extraordinary. I will be calling FedEX to support him. Jennifer Chavez: we love Barry..bring him back Dorine Drohan: The man needs his JOb. And the community needs the MAN! So does the FexEx compnay..
Dana Kalbacher October 15, 2012 at 02:11 PM
I will be calling FED EX today..and tomorrow etc until EH gets the answer it wants! EH wants Barry back! Some people have called news 12 and 7 On Your Side...Bring Barry Back!! As you can see Barry, we are all pulling for you!! :)
Bonac Bub October 15, 2012 at 02:15 PM
I just called to complain to FedEx. I gave my complaint to the first operator. She then transferred me to the CAT (Customer Advocacy Team) because she said they have been getting so many calls about this. The CAT operator took my complaint. She said that since this is about a Ground driver and not an Express driver, that there is nothing they can do. That it is up to the station manager to deal with this. I asked if there is any way to push this up to an executives level and she said there was not. The operator said that she has received 53 calls about this, and that they are not allowed to call the Holbrook station about this anymore because they station has gotten too many calls, and the CAT operators will get in trouble if they call and ask a question about it. She said that the Holbrook station manager will not discuss the situation anymore. She stated that the manager has stated it is between the station and the driver, and the customers can do nothing about it. I asked if there was an email for complaints - gcrmail@fedex.com FedEx Holbrook 5901 Veterans Memorial Highway Holbrook, NY 11741 (631) 218-4430 I think we need to push this up the chain to the executives. We need to find some email addresses of FedEx executives. Keep using Facebook, Twitter, phone, email
David Buda October 15, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Sounds like FedEx needs a new Station Manager in Holbrook!
Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) October 15, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Thanks for the info Bonac Bob - just wanted you all to know that I am also following up with Media Relations at FedEx.
Mary Croghan October 15, 2012 at 02:34 PM
East Hampton Business Service, the local FedEx Authorized Ship Center at 20 Park Place, has a petition at the front counter. Please stop by to sign your name. We have appealed to FederalExpress Ground on Barry's behalf and plan to submit the petition on Thursday, Oct. 18. Thanks for your help, Mary Croghan
Joi Jackson Perle October 15, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Exactly David. I just called Holbrook and voiced my concern/complaint!
Joi Jackson Perle October 15, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Thanks Mary! I will be in today and will post the information on our FB page!
Kay Egan October 15, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Sounds to me like upper management of FedEx has 'someone' wanting to take over Barry's East Hampton Route! $$$
Rick Hoyt October 15, 2012 at 02:48 PM
I Called Both Locations - Spoke To His Manager( Holbrook ), Wouldn't Give His Name, But Said It Was Foolish To Let Him Go, And That He Is An Amazing Asset And That He Needs To Be Reinstated ASAP.I Also Gave The Case # 1012742771 To Corporate HQ - And Spoke To Stephanie, Had Her Take Down My Contact Info/Phone #. I Stayed Positive - But Firm, That There are a Lot Of People Who Love Barry ! Please Give Them Your Contact Info, It Will Lend More Gravitas To The Situation.Stay Positive Barry ! You Will Get Your Job Back ! This Is We The People, Democracy In Action.Love You Buddy ! Rick Hoyt - Owner - Freedom Telecom, Inc.
Cheryl October 15, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Not only will FedEx lose business in East Hampton without Barry. Many of us who have moved away will also stop using FedEx. And, we will tell our friends..bad publicity spreads quick. FedEx needs to re-consider this.
Bonac Bub October 15, 2012 at 03:03 PM
FedEx on Twitter @FedEx @FedExDolores @FedExNews @FedExCares @FedexRobin @FedexAl @FedexLaShelia @FedExCareers @Mitch_Jackson - VP FedEx Co. Environmental Affairs & Sustainability @FedexMike @FedexLina @FedexPam @FedexGracie @FedexEmily @Rwsmith1977 - FedEx executive, related to CEO??? @Mitch_Jackson - FedEx executive Lets start typing away. Any big names in the area that are on Twitter or otherwise that we can get to help support Barry?
Bonac Bub October 15, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Facebook Group JOIN http://www.facebook.com/groups/424970947564814/
jane stuart October 15, 2012 at 03:46 PM
go to fedex's facebook page and post a complaint!!!! that way the whole country will see it.
Joseph October 15, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Vera You're lucky to have Barry as a brother and I'm sure he knows he's lucky to have you as a sister. I didn't even know your brother's name until this article came out. To me he was just the FedEx guy who always had a smile and good cheer. Good luck to you both!
Kathy October 15, 2012 at 05:39 PM
I just called the number listed in Taylor's article, and the person I spoke with mentioned there were over 50 calls so far in support of Barry. In addition I was given the number for the corporate office of Fed Ex which I think is worth calling as well. Their number is 901-344-1000.
Rhonda Lamb October 15, 2012 at 09:23 PM
I just had the opportunity to call FED EX to have Barry Gilliam reinstated and I got a nice woman named Diane on the phone who said that she would be happy to forward my complaint to Headquarters. She also said that there were lots of calls logged into the computer to have Barry reinstated. Let's continue to call and flood those phone lines.
Jim Condon October 15, 2012 at 10:01 PM
I was a classmate of Barry's and I remember Big Jim! I'll never forget him.
Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) October 15, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Here is a story about an petition that has begun. http://patch.com/A-yDrC
JFM October 15, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Why not reinstate Barry you ask? Because im sure there is some greedy corperate slob waiting to get their hands on something Barry built. Its a payday for someone somewhere but what they didn't count on was the overwhelming voice of the people. Keep it up they will have no choice but to bow to public pressure and do the right thing here.
Occifer Obie October 16, 2012 at 12:27 AM
You are among the best and few that do what you do and that isn't delivering packages. It's taking every day the way it comes and seeing the best in each one. It's that quick step, honest and matter of fact attitude in the way you conduct business. It's looking out for others needs and wants as a matter of course rather than as an afterthought. It's delivering a smile and a laugh in the pouring rain when you are soaked to the bone on a cold November day. Never a negative thought to anyone that you meet and always the time to listen when you had little time to waste. No excuses or needs and someone with an attitude that we would all secretly like to posess. You are a true gentleman Barry. Their loss is your gain. You have the character to reach higher. Take this opportunity as a reason to. Harold W.
Drtee-Dancer October 16, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Don"t give up Taylor - keeping this up is important. Commend you !!!
Drtee-Dancer October 16, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Thanks Greg - says a lot..
Alan Court October 17, 2012 at 11:30 PM
It's no surprise that everyone that knows Barry and has the pleasure of doing business with him feels exactly the same way. He makes my showroom a better place each and every day he walks through the door. When Barry comes in you find yourself smiling with him and the good vibes he brings last long after he leaves. What a kind, classy, always helpful, and talented professional he is. Barry should be up for Fed Ex employee of the year.......this year and every year. Alan Court
David Buda October 20, 2012 at 03:01 AM
It is very clear that Mr. Gilliam is an extraordinary person who has engendered tremendous admiration and respect for his work ethic and genial manner. However, there's an obvious legal reality that his friends, customers and supporters simply want to ignore. The current legal status of "Barry Giliam, Inc., a New York business corporation" is a public record available from the NYS Department of State, Division of Corporations: "Current Entity Status: INACTIVE - Dissolution by Proclamation ... (Jan 26, 2011) . Information to reinstate a corporation that has been dissolved by proclamation ...is available on the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance website." There is only reason why a corporation can have its corporate charter inactivated and dissolved by proclamation. However, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. If the legal deficiency is remedied the corporation can be reinstated, and it then "re-acquires the same powers, rights, and obligations it had before it was dissolved by proclamation." Perhaps FedEx will find it in its own best interest to maintain customer good will and in the best interest of its East Hampton customers to hold off entering into a new long term contract for Mr. Gilliam's route, while his many friends help him find a new accountant and business advisor.

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