11 More Things Your Mail Carrier Won’t Tell You

Letter carriers from around the country reveal the secrets of their profession.

1. Most of us love our jobs and the people we serve. I met my wife and my best friend because I was their letter carrier. 

2. We go to great lengths to deliver to every address, no matter how remote. That’s why, in the most rural areas, even UPS and FedEx rely on us to make their final deliveries.

3. Those plants around your mailbox are beautiful, but I’d like them better if you kept them trimmed back.

4. Is it hot enough for me? The heat index is 110 degrees. What do you think? (Instead of asking that, offer me a cold drink.)

5. Despite the “neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night” motto, we’re instructed not to deliver to a mailbox if the snow and ice around it isn’t cleared. Most of us take the motto to heart, though, and do our best to deliver in even the most hazardous conditions.

6. I have people who leave a letter in their box and tape 44 cents in change to it. I’ll take it, but the next day I’ll be waiting in line like everyone else to buy you a stamp.

7. One day while delivering to a woman who had been very sick, her daughter met me by the mailbox and asked me if I wanted to say goodbye to her mom.  She was unconscious and didn’t know that I was there, but I held her hand and said a silent prayer for her and her family.  It wasn’t even an hour later when another customer met me at his door.  He was a new father, overjoyed, telling me that his wife had just given birth to his son. The whole cycle of life, in just one day.

8. It’s a small thing that makes my job so much easier: Please park your car in the driveway instead of in front of the mailbox.

9. If a letter has your name but the number is wrong and it gets to you, thank your carrier. We still sort our mail before we hit the street. Here’s what to do if your package arrives damaged, or not at all. 

10. If your carrier walks his route, it would be nice if you would sweep or shovel your stairs when it snows.

11. Sometimes, when my wife and I are shopping or out to dinner, I ask if they give discounts to people in the “service.” They usually say “yes,” then ask “What branch are you in?” I reply, “postal.”  I usually get a funny look and a little snicker… I guess that means I’m just going to have to wait for my senior citizens discount.

Sources: Letter carriers in Missouri, New Jersey, and North Carolina; Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers; and a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest