ST. PAUL, Minn. – Getting rid of the snow and ice off your sidewalk not only makes life easier for you, but for your mail carrier.
Craig Barrett is entering his 21st winter delivering mail for the U.S. Postal Service.
"Every day, every morning it's kind of making a decision what's gonna be the best pair of boots or the best pair of shoes to wear for the day," Barrett said.
Tuesday was an easy decision for Barrett. He wore snow boots, snow pants and lots of layers.
He trudged, plodded and tramped through the heavy snowdrifts in St. Paul's Highland Park neighborhood.
"The best thing about it is getting to know customers on the route," Barrett said. "You see the kids growing up. Especially older folks, the mailman or the letter carrier might be their only interaction throughout the day."
Barrett relies on those same customers once the storm ends.
"The most I can hope for is that people, if not tonight, get out first thing in the morning and get their walkway shoveled," he said.
Snowy and icy lead-ups to mailboxes are legitimate safety hazards that Janet Lasso, the Elway Post Office manager, says her employees encounter all the time.
"Even though they have, you know, equipment that's helping protect them, they still go down, and a lot of times when they go down, the mail goes flying," Lasso said.
Lasso and Barrett both say turning on porch lights is a huge help with it getting dark so early this time of year. In the dark, it's a challenge to pick out both the address on the house and the right mail from the stack.
"As long as it stays above zero, I can't complain too much," Barrett said.
USPS says on days like this, sometimes trucks physically can't make it to every house, so they ask for patience from customers.
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