8 Most Memorable Things Newspaper Carriers Have Ever Seen
If your first gig was delivering newspapers, these tales from the route will surely sound familiar.
There’s the age-old joke of dogs chasing the mailman, but in this case, the paperboy was also a target. “There was a big black angry dog that used to chase me,” says Patrick D. of Santa Rosa, California. “Usually it would be lying on the front walk and I’d avoid the house and come back later. One day, the coast was clear and I threw the paper on the porch. Turns out the dog was hiding in the bushes and when the paper landed, it launched out of the bushes and chased me down the block. I never peddled so fast.” From humble beginnings onward to great things: these 11 millionaires started out as newspaper carriers.
While that big ‘ole dog was a nuisance, he was nothing compared to some college students. “My route was right next to the local community college and when I took it over, there was a house that was a student rental,” says Patrick D. “I didn’t know any better and kept delivering the paper. When it came time to collect, the guys living in the house seemed totally taken off guard. To their credit, they led me around as they took up a collection to pay for their paper.”
When you’re related to your newspaper route, things get interesting. “I think the funniest thing I could tell you was our family lived along the whole block,” says Kim T. of Ohio. “If it was cold my grandma would watch for us and chase us down the street with gloves from a box in her kitchen” But there was also a case of unknown doggies. “We were delivering in a neighborhood I didn’t know,” says Kim. “I got out of the car and had to take the paper through a back gate to the porch. Turns out they had a dog that growled and ran after me. I hopped the fence freaked out and my aunt and cousin were laughing their butts off. Turns out the dog was very old and had no teeth.”
Friendly customers may also be the most festive ones. In this case, a newspaper carrier found himself confronted with some frights. “There was a house on my route that was always heavily decorated for Halloween,” says Joe F. of Lindenhurst, New York. “I didn’t think anything of it until I delivered their paper early one morning and a voice boomed from a scarecrow perched against their porch. Turns out they were testing a monitor where they could talk to trick-or-treaters as they approached the house. It scared the daylights out of me.”
Mourning The King
Not all newspaper carrier stories are comical, like this instance after the death of Elvis Presley. “One time while collecting money, I found myself sitting next to a lady on her couch while she balled her eyes out watching the news coverage of Elvis’s death,” says Kaye P. of Ohio. “I didn’t know if I should continue to sit there and wait for her to compose herself or let my self out and come back later to collect.”
That age-old image of Fido fetching the paper for his owner is a sweet one, but some pups take it too far. “There was a dog along my route who wouldn’t just bring their owner’s paper in, he would seek out all of the newspapers in the neighborhood,” says Chris H. of Missouri. “This dog would single-handedly scoop up all of the papers in a cul de sac and bring them back to his owner. It was so funny to witness.”
While newspaper delivery might feel antiquated to some folks, others rely on it to keep abreast of the latest happenings in the world…and the earlier they receive the news the better. “Every day I delivered the paper, there was one man on my route who would sit next to his front door with a watch and looked like he was logging the time I made my delivery,” says Matthew B. of Maryland. “I could never figure it out because I didn’t receive any criticism about my deliveries, but he was always there, watching to see when I dropped the paper and writing down the time. Everyone has a hobby, I guess.” Here’s the real reason your newspapers turn yellow over time.
The stereotype of newspaper carriers being boys is just that—a stereotype. Still, back in the day girls had to prove they could easily handle the same gig as their male counterparts. “I delivered papers in the rain, snow, and very early in the morning on a bicycle,” says Jane F. of California, who delivered papers in her home country of England. “We did have to knock on doors and ask for a Christmas bonus. One year, after screwing up my courage the guy who answered the door refused to believe I was the delivery ‘boy.’ It was sexism at its finest!” Next, read on to find out the 12 unusual things mail carriers see every day.