Seth Poling, and his friend, UPS delivery driver, Ben McGill, pose for a picture together in Seth's Morgantown-area neighborhood. / Photo courtesy Seth Poling and Mary Alice Poling

A very special delivery: UPS driver brings companionship, kindness to Buckhannon native battling ALS

MORGANTOWN – Each day, Buckhannon native-turned-Morgantown resident Seth Poling looks forward to the familiar sight of a large brown truck with yellow lettering pulling up in front of his home.

And whether the UPS driver is delivering a package to Seth Poling’s home or not, he knows his friend, UPS delivery driver Ben McGill, will stop by to say hello and check to make sure he is doing well and see if he needs anything.

Seth and Ben met while both were in middle school and attended a summertime football camp for quarterbacks in Braxton County. Years later, they reconnected when they played football at Fairmont State University. And after Seth married his wife, Erika, and moved to the Morgantown neighborhood, Brookhaven, in 2016, the couple discovered that Ben was their UPS driver. They reconnected again, and Ben would stop by for an occasional visit.

Seth is the son of Holt and Mary Alice Poling of Buckhannon and is the brother of Brittany Alden, who lives with her husband, Matt, and son, Calvin, in Salem. He graduated from Buckhannon-Upshur High School in 2005 and has been married to Erika for four years. The couple have two sons – Liam Seth and Bayler Michael.

In June 2017, Seth received a diagnosis for the symptoms he had been experiencing for four years prior: ALS, which is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

ALS sometimes causes Seth to fall, and one day when he sneezed, he overcompensated and fell in his living room. Seth was not seriously injured; however, after numerous attempts, he found he could not get back up with his own strength.

“I had to crawl on my back a few rooms away, kick my phone to the floor and call Erika with my nose,” Seth said. “Luckily, Tim Helmick (Seth’s father-in-law) came to my rescue. I was on the floor for an hour before I called Erika.”

Seth said every day since that happened, Ben has stopped by to check on him, regardless of whether or not they are receiving a UPS delivery.

“He does it out of the goodness of his heart,” Seth said. “Not only does it brighten my day and our dog Brier’s, too, but it gives my family a sense of security to know someone is checking on me.”

Seth said he enjoys talking and visiting with Ben each day.

“It gives me a friend to talk sports or hunting with,” he said. “It gives my family added assurance that another responsible person is checking on me.”

Seth said their driveway is steep, and Ben also brings up the trash can, so Erika does not have to do that. He said Ben helps carry groceries in from the car and brings dog treats for Brier.

“Ben lets Brier outside and inside, plugs my communication device in and is a good buddy to Brier,” Seth said. “Ben is a wonderful, selfless person who I have the privilege to call a friend. He treats everyone he knows the same way he treats me. The world needs more Ben McGills. My family and I are grateful for Ben’s friendship and help.”

Erika said she is so very appreciative of Ben checking in on Seth each day.

“When I am at work, I am always worried about Seth and hoping he’s okay and isn’t in any sort of trouble,” Erika said. “It’s reassuring to know that each day, another set of eyes are checking in on him. Seth spends most of his days home alone, and I know he greatly enjoys getting to have interaction and conversation with Ben each day.”

“Ben made sure I had his cellphone number and always says to call if we need anything at all during the day,” Erika added. “He is truly a great person and friend.”

This weekend, Seth’s mom, Mary Alice, organized a yard/garage sale and mini-bake sale at 46 Saratoga Drive in the Anderegg Addition. Proceeds from the sales, which wrapped up around noon Saturday, will be donated to Seth to help him and his family with his medical expenses in his fight against ALS.

Mary Alice said Ben stopping to check on Seth means everything to her and daughter-in-law Erika.

“It gives us peace of mind,” Mary Alice said. “When Ben came to Seth’s house after Seth’s fall, I asked him if he would stop by on his day routes and check to make sure Seth is not lying on the floor. Ben said, ‘yes’ and every day for the last two years, when he comes by Seth’s house he stops and checks to see if Seth is okay and if he needs anything.”

Mary Alice said one day during the winter, she was planning to help Seth travel to a medical appointment, but said it had snowed, making Seth’s driveway very slick.

“When Ben stopped, he swept off the entire driveway,” Mary Alice said. “He is an awesome, awesome guy.”

She said when she goes up to Morgantown, she always brings along some home-baked goods for Ben as thanks for his help and concern.

“Ben goes over and above,” Mary Alice said. “He works so late, and it is so wonderful that he takes time out of his busy day to talk to and check on Seth, and we are so thankful for his kindness.”

Click here to learn more about ALS and how you can help.

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