MARATHON NEIGHBOR OF THE WEEK: WESLEY BARNES

No matter how many individuals appear in the pages of each edition of Keys Weekly, there are always so many more of our community members who deserve to be recognized. In an effort to shine a spotlight on more of the incredible individuals who live and work in these islands, Keys Weekly is proud to spotlight our Neighbor of the Week feature, dedicated to celebrating a community member with each issue. In a narrow island chain that stretches more than 100 miles into the ocean, online shopping is a critical lifeline, and this week’s Neighbor of the Week is one of the many hard-working men and women who make all of our deliveries possible. Though he lives in Islamorada, Marathon residents may recognize him as well when he’s out and about driving his routes.

WESLEY BARNES

Delivery driver, UPS

How did you first come to the Keys, and where do you work? I came to the Keys in 2011 when I was 23. I moved here for a change of scenery. I work for UPS delivering my customers’ wants and needs. 

What’s your hype song and your sad song? Hype song: “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor.

Sad song: “Keep On Loving You” by REO Speedwagon.

If there was one chore or regular task you could have taken away from you forever, what would it be? Definitely waiting on my dog to put down her coconut before going inside because it takes her FOREVER! 

What is the funniest or most ridiculous social media fight or rant you’ve ever witnessed? The married joint Facebook account debate. It should be called the “we don’t trust each other” account. 

What would you do if you won the lottery?

Without a doubt, I’d plan for a comfortable yet responsible future and split up the rest among family and loved ones. 

What’s the weirdest or funniest app on your phone? The funniest app I have is called TigerDroppings because of its name. It’s a forum for my favorite college team. 

What’s one thing that is always on a menu, but you will never try? I always enjoy trying new things, but vegan options are not among them. 

What’s one thing most people never knew about you? I really enjoy classical music, but most wouldn’t know it because it doesn’t fit my M.O.

Two truths and a lie: I’m married to my best friend, I plan on running for president, and I’ve been accidentally shot. 

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received or given? “Never put passion in front of principle. Even if you win, you lose.” – Mr. Miyagi

What’s the weirdest package you’ve ever had to deliver? Oof. I’ll have to pass on that one due to customer/company confidentiality. (Editor’s note: Now we REALLY wanna know.)

Which is the worst for delivery drivers in the Keys: Black Friday, the general holiday rush, or Prime Day? Is there another one we’re not thinking of? Mini-season and it’s not even close. Too many people and too many vehicles with boats. I get major OT that week. 

Would you rather: A) Every stoplight you ever come to for the rest of your life is red when you first get there, or B) Once per year for 24 hours, you turn into a loaf of bread?

Every stoplight being red as a delivery driver is cringeworthy, so bring on the bread!

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Alex Rickert made the perfectly natural career progression from dolphin trainer to newspaper editor in 2021 after freelancing for Keys Weekly while working full time at Dolphin Research Center. A resident of Marathon since 2015, he fell in love with the Florida Keys community by helping multiple organizations and friends rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Irma. An avid runner, actor, and spearfisherman, he spends as much of his time outside of work on or under the sea having civil disagreements with sharks.