Wil Smith in his car and ready to make a delivery on a recent morning. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LEWISTON — Wil Smith was tired of losing jobs and working for others, so two years ago, at age 45, he started a licensed courier service delivering anything and everything 24 hours a day: Takeout meals, pets to the vet, soup to sick Bates College students ordered by mom and dad, even furniture.

“My first call for today was at midnight last night, 12:08,” Smith said. “Denny’s.”

He picked up food in Auburn and ran it over to the Inn at the Agora, near Kennedy Park, and went back to bed.

The next call: 9:30 a.m., breakfast to go at Webster St. Convenience & Diner for a Lewiston caller.

He was off.

“Nine out of 10 times, when you pull in the driveways, there are cars,” Smith said.

He delivers to more homes than businesses and has a few theories on why some people ring him up, particularly for takeout:

  • “People who’ve got kids for the day and the kids are running them crazy.”
  • “There’s no need of me going in there and cooking right now — ‘Let me call this guy up.'”
  • “People who are watching kids who need a box of wine — you can sense that when you get there.”

Smith’s Lewiston Courier Service got its start delivering purchases from Marden’s. Inspiration struck when he saw fellow shoppers struggling to bring home flooring and linoleum.

“I was buying things from Marden’s myself — being able to get it home in a Prius is not easy,” he said.

So Smith would take a call and rent a U-Haul, as needed.

“At the time, CMMC (Central Maine Medical Center) had a lot of remote nurses and they were coming into town and they were buying things like mattresses, stuff like that,” he said. “It wasn’t as consistent as I needed it — that’s when I went to food. I was here before Uber and DoorDash and all those guys.”

He picks up from dozens of restaurants. Customers call, confirm he’s free at a set time, then call to place their order and alert the eatery that Smith will pick up. He delivers it, gets reimbursed and goes on his way. His fee starts at $10 within Lewiston-Auburn.

On a busy lunch rush, “I can hustle about four or five (trips),” he said.

It’s the rare call that’s someone’s a jerk, won’t pay or gives him a hard time.

“I’ve never had an issue, never been robbed,” Smith said. “Then again, I don’t play.”

During lulls, he drives for DoorDash, if the price is right. His phone constantly pings with interest.

“I’ll look and see a $2 delivery come up for Wendy’s for Auburn. No,” Smith said, pass. “They’re my competition when they came in, so you keep your enemies close, you know what I mean?”

He’s delivered lobsters, dog gates, for “baby dads who have stuff for their kids that needs to be taken to their kids, all kinds of things,” he said. “It never fails what the phone call is for.”

Smith is hard on vehicles, driving thousands of miles a month, even statewide. His phone is always on.

“I like being my own boss, I like, ‘Thank you, we were looking for. … ‘” he said. “If I don’t work as hard, I could lose it. Mainers are some hard workers.”

Working is a recurring Sun Journal feature that profiles people on the job in the community. If you have someone you would like to suggest, contact writer Kathryn Skelton at [email protected] or (207) 689-2844.

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