SAN ANTONIO – In the middle of a dark North Side parking lot stands a building that, by outward appearances, seems to keep regular business hours.
Inside it, though, humans and machines are working at full speed very early in the morning.
The building is the main ship center in San Antonio for FedEx Express, a Memphis-based international shipping company.
“During this time of year, our volume typically doubles, almost triples,” said John Santos, who works as a courier for the company.
Santos is one of the dozens of employees whose workday begins before daylight.
As a courier, his job is to deliver packages and parcels from all over the world to their final destinations.
“They've been on trucks and planes. They've been stacked. They've been packed,” he said. “Now it's up to us to get them where they need to go.”
In an instant, he visually scans hundreds of boxes and envelopes on a fast-moving conveyor belt.
He along with other crew members then sort those items by zip code, holding on to those destined for homes in their delivery areas.
In order to get to work and get all of that done, Santos begins his day in the middle of the night, waking up around 3:30 a.m.
He says caffeine, though, is never part of the plan.
“Believe it or not, I mean, it gets me jittery,” he said. “Just knowing what I need to do and what's in front of me is enough motivation.”
By 5:30 a.m., Santos is in full package sorting mode.
A few hours later, he hits the streets on the city’s far West Side, delivering packages to homes in a neighborhood near Sea World.
Even after 13 years on the job, Santos says he still enjoys what he does.
“Whether it's their online order, important documents or even their medication, oftentimes, you make people's day with your delivery,” he said.
In order to keep the shipping process enjoyable for everyone, especially at this busy time of year, Santos suggests that people plan ahead.
He said there are some handy tips available on the FedEx Express app as well as on the company’s website, FedEx.com.