New York Letter Carriers Carmelo LaSalle and Monique Richardson
Cold Camaraderie – New York Letter Carriers persevere
As a former Letter Carrier in Brooklyn, New York, I remember all too well those days when you close your eyes and hope you will simply get through it. The days when snow is forecasted and you’re glued to the radio to see if the subway will close and wonder how you will get to the station in the morning. You’re way too dedicated to ever dream of not going in, but all the same you dread the long hours of USPS delivery ahead. The trade off–all the summer days in the cool breeze!
Here are some survival tips that helped me with mail delivery during serious snow storms. First is to think positive, keep your spirits up and know that you are doing this job for a greater good. Know that your team of postal employees are behind you and will congratulate and praise you upon your return to the office.
Letter Carrier Monique Richardson collects mail
USPS delivery in sleet, snow, and cold
So what is it really like? Here is how I remember it; you don’t think. You just do. Snow is flying sideways and the wind can’t make up its mind which way to blow so it takes all directions. The sky is as white as a sheet of paper. Looking up means the sting of the frozen flakes hitting your eyes. Your toes get cold one at a time, then your fingers. The mail gets wetter and wetter but there is still five more hours to go, so you do your best to keep it dry.
Hand pocket warmers help at this point and you are thrilled you remembered to pack them. The icicles are collecting on the mailboxes, the metal is ten degrees colder than the air that whips around your face, and visibility is down as you struggle to look up.
It feels like you are the only one on the street—a postal winter warrior. The only solace is knowing that your customers may be home to receive their packages on a day like this. When the snow is not yet shoveled from the stairs so you take precaution and everything moves at a slower pace. You get through the day for your customers, your fellow postal employees and the community.
There is always a special camaraderie amongst postal employees, but it seems more powerful on days like these. Everyone bands together as New Yorkers come out to help their neighbors and for those brief moments, we are all in this together.
New York Letter Carrier Ronald Howell
Postal Pride in a job well done
Now as a supervisor, I miss the challenge and the sense of accomplishment when returning to the office from the snow and cold. While waiting for the carriers to return from their deliveries, I can empathize with them as I have been there before. Happily, they return one-by-one, and when all the carriers have returned its time to breathe a collective sigh of relief.
A USPS Carrier Supervisor’s job is to keep the mail moving but more importantly – to keep those moving the mail safe. Finally, when the day is done, the station alarm set and the employees safely on their way home to dry their uniforms— it is then and only then we begin to hope the sun will be out tomorrow.
Author: USPS Contributor Amy Bolger