Walking a mile (or two) in their shoes

Newspaper Carrier Appreciation Week was held earlier this month and I hit the street and walked a mile or two in our carriers' shoes.

The look on her face was priceless.

Newspaper Carrier Appreciation Week was held earlier this month and I, along with the entire office and mailroom staff of The Northern View, hit the street and walked a mile or two in our carriers’ shoes.

Since the beginning of October, I’ve picked up a couple of routes for three main reasons: 1) Get the newspaper delivered where we currently don’t have a carrier; 2) To audit some routes to see how we can improve our service and; 3) Get some exercise — the scale in the bathroom tells me the third reason is critical.

A couple of weeks ago, I was finishing up my 135-paper route on Alberta Place and, despite my need to satisfy No. 3, all I could smell was the wafting scent of nearby McDonald’s french fries — my pace quickened.

That 135-paper route normally takes me a little less than an hour, if I remember to walk downhill from Drake Crescent to Heron along Prince Rupert Boulevard culminating with the circle on Alberta Place. As my taste buds watered for a well-deserved break today, I made the turn up Alberta Place in record time.

As I walked up a driveway on the cul-de-sac, I saw some Canada Post junk mail lying on the ground. I picked it up and walked to the mailbox and deposited the newspaper.

As I left, I heard the door open behind me and a lady exited calling out to me.

“Excuse me, young man,” she shouted.

When I turned around, the lady’s jaw dropped, I suppose I wasn’t the spring chicken she expected to see. The look on her face was indeed priceless. In the palm of her hand she clutched a twoonie and handed it to me.

“Thanks for picking that up,” she said referring to the mail left on her driveway. “That was nice of you.”

“No problem,” I said and took the twoonie unabashedly thinking of the coming french fries.

As I adjusted the strap on my bag and walked down the driveway to my next stop, the thought occurred: How many people in Prince Rupert tip their carrier?

People have no problem tipping a waiter or a pizza delivery guy and then hand over more cash for the product.

Northern View and Northern Connector carriers provide a free product, yet it seems few get a tip for good service. Come down to the office on a Thursday morning and listen to some phone calls if a carrier misses a house. Folks are sure quick to provide some tips then.

Tips are not required but they are certainly appreciated, let’s face it, no waiter or carrier is going to get rich on their base pay.

As I proved, our carrier force is not all young kids, most are adults including a number of special needs persons who rank among our most dependable and best carriers.

I thank them for their service. Hopefully, others will as well.