Thursday, July 28, 2011

Adventures in Mail Delivery - Part 2: Revenge of the Stupid

So, like people at any job, every now and then crazy things happen to Mail Carriers as well. Such as a stray horse walking up and trying to eat mail out of your hands. Here are some of the crazy things that have happened in the last few days at the West Jordan Post Office.

First of all, something that didn't happen to me personally, but the post master and the supervisors have been making sure everyone knows about so it doesn't happen again. We're currently understaffed, meaning on saturdays several routes have to be split up and people have to deliver a route and a half. We were so short handed last saturday that we actually had to borrow a weekend carrier (the job I used to have before getting my not quite route) from another office, a dude that has been working for the post office in this job for almost twelve years. He was on the easiest route, so we all figured that someone that experienced would be able to figure it all out on his own. He sorted the mail out quickly enough in the morning, and got out of the office faster than I did, as I had to sort two routes that day.

The gearshift in mail trucks trucks is rather odd. It's not like normal automatic transmissions which usually go P R N D 2 3. The gearshift on the postal trucks goes P D N R 2 3. The retarded logic behind this is that mail trucks have HUGE blind spots and they don't want us backing up, so they put the reverse gear further away from park to discourage it. Stupid, yes, I know. This leads to a huge design flaw in that the vibrations of the engine when idling in park can actually cause the gears to shift from park to drive, which leads to runaway vehicles.

It is post office policy ever since they started using these vehicles rather than the Jeeps that every time you get out of your vehicle, you put it in park, curb the wheels, turn the engine off, and set the parking break, even if you're just walking 2 feet to reach a blocked mailbox. That way there's no chance of the vehicle getting away from you. If putting it in park, setting the brake and turning the engine off all fail, it's angled at the curb and will stop rolling when it hits it.

Anyway, this guy that we borrowed actually managed to run HIMSELF over with his own mail truck. There's a Monty Python sketch that is an obstacle course to determine the twit of the year and as a joke one of the contestants ran himself over with his own car, because the impossibility and ridiculousness of it makes it hilarious. But this guy actually managed to do it.

He pulled up to a mailbox that was blocked, someone parked in front of it. He didn't turn the engine off, didn't curb the wheels, and didn't set the parking brake. He took two steps away from the vehicle and that was all the time that the vibrations from the engine idling needed to pop it from park into drive and the truck started coasting down the steep hill he was on. Naturally he ran after it, but it was starting to pick up speed, with a final sprint he managed to reach the door and tried to jump into the seat. He missed, fell out, and the back tire rolled over both his legs at the thigh, breaking one and severely bruising the other.

AND THEN he got back up, on his broken leg and proceeded to chase the runaway vehicle the rest of the way down the hill until he collapsed from the pain, only to watch his truck zoom miraculously untouched through a busy intersection, and crash into the side of a maverick.

Needless to say, he's become the joke of the West Jordan Post Office this week. Crashing a vehicle due to a rollaway like he had is one of the few things that you can be fired for at the Post Office without the supervisors having to jump through hoops for the unions. Your vehicle rolls away on you due to negligence like he showed, you're gone. Especially if you manage to total your vehicle in the process. Even the unions recognize the need to get rid of people who will endanger themselves and the lives and property of other people in that way. So this genius returned to his own post office monday to fill out paperwork for workman's comp, thinking that he was going to coast by because it wasn't his post office it happened at to find that he was now unemployed.

Honestly, you'd think someone that has worked for the post office as long as he has would know the value of following the rules, especially when they drill them into you in weekly staff meetings.

This next story actually did happen to me.

So, yesterday I was delivering mail to a row of community boxes. There were four of them in a row, with a parking lot to one side, and houses across the street. I had my mail truck parked in the street between the mail boxes and the house across from them rather than in the parking lot so I wouldn't have to back up. As I'm delivering my mail I hear something hit the side of the truck. I look around and see nothing, so I go back to work. Then I hear it again. It sounded like a kid chucking a rock at the side of it, so I looked around for kids, but didn't see any, and went back to work.

Then something slammed into the lens of my sunglasses hard enough to crack it and knock the glasses off my face, and I hear a kid laughing his butt off. I look up and see a 5 year old in an attic window with a BB gun. Naturally I'm pissed, because those were prescription sunglasses that cost me $180. A new lens will probably run a good $50 if not more.

Ducking another BB, I get back in the truck where I'm out of the line of fire, and call my supervisor. Meanwhile the kid continues to pelt the truck. It rings loud enough on the inside that my supervisor can actually hear it over the phone. She tells me to call the police, and says that she will be there in 15 mins with a postal inspector (who, by the way, have the same authority as US marshals).

I call the police, and they show up about the same time as my supervisor and the postal inspector. The kid sees the police car and knows he's in big trouble so he disappears from the window and I explain to everyone what happened, show them my broken glasses, and we all walk over together to the house an knock on the door.

The boy's father opens the door. He is the epitome of white trash. Shoulder length hair, shirtless, hairy chest, side burns all the way down his jaw, porn stash, tattoo of a naked chick on his shoulder, and a beer in one hand.

The policeman explains what has happened to the guy, shows him my glasses, and takes him over to see the dents in the side of the truck that the BBs made. Then we walk back to his house.

He says, "So why the hell you talkin' to me 'bout it? I ain't the one that did it."

The police officer explains that as the child is under age and in his care he is responsible for his every action, and that assaulting a government employeed on the job with a weapon, even a BB gun is a federal offense for which he, not his son, will be held accountable for.

He just laughs, takes a swig of his beer and says, "Well hell then, arresst the little bastard." like my coming half an inch from being blinded in one eye while trying to do my job is just a big joke to him.

The policeman looks at the postal inspector. The postal inspector looks at the policeman and they both shrug. It was so perfect that I'd swear it had been scripted ahead of time if I didn't know better.

"You're under arrest for negligence of a child and the assault of a government employee."

That wiped the smile off of his face. He threw his beer at the cop and tried to close the door, but the postal inpector pulled his gun and blocked the door from closing with it then kicked it back open like a freakin' action movie hero, and proceeded to tackle the guy to the floor and cuff him while the beer soaked cop began reading him his rights.

Long story short, the dude was arrested and taken off to lockup. I get to testify at a hearing tomorrow, and child services were called and the 4 children in the house taken into custody because he was the only adult present, and had been so incredibly negligent in his parently duties. And I get a completely AWESOME story to tell. And I plan to make that dickwad pay for my glasses to be fixed too. And the very best part is that this man now has a lifetime hold on his mail, meaning we will NEVER deliver to him again for the rest of his life. If he wants his mail he has to pick it up at the post office, and if he misses more than 10 days in a row we return it all to sender.

So yeah, there's a whole lotta stupid in the world. And people wonder why I profess to dislike people in general...


  1. Wow! That's something right out of COPS. Glad you're okay. And kudos for not beating up that little heathen.

  2. That's brilliant. I just see the arrogant bastard in his wife beater and pork chop sideburns grinning like a jackass and the cops giving miranda rights..the beer goes splashing and Jerky tries to make a run for it. I sorta want to see the kid in jail colors doing hard time. That would have done it.

    Good story.