Every day without fail (except Sundays and national holidays of course), our mail miraculously appears in our mailboxes. Although we know it was delivered by a United States Postal Service carrier, we often don’t think twice about our mail being delivered six days a week until we’re waiting on something important to arrive in the mail. Yet still, we know that we can rely on our mail carrier to deliver our mail in any element.

Maybe you’ve seen your mail carrier on occasion and said hello or waved to them as they made their rounds, or maybe you’ve never encountered them at all. Either way, it is somewhat strange to think about how our mail carrier stops at our residence almost every day of the week, and yet we may not even know their name.

So, let’s get to know them!

Justin Gross

Nazareth resident and Northampton native, Justin Gross, works as a rural carrier for the Northampton Post Office.

Shortly after Justin graduated from high school, his mom saw an advertisement for a temporary position at the Northampton Post Office. Unsure what he wanted to do with his life, he took his mom’s suggestion and applied for the position.

As it would turn out, the Northampton Post Office hired him as a fill-in or temporary employee. Little did he know, it would later become his career. After serving for nine years as a fill-in employee, he was finally hired as a permanent employee. In fact, this month marks Justin’s 20th year as a USPS worker, which he is very proud of.

Although he spent a few years in managerial positions at other post offices, he returned to Northampton as a rural carrier, which he not only prefers, but also enjoys because it gives him the opportunity to constantly meet new people and get to chat with some of the customers on his route.

As a rural carrier, Justin’s job is to case, deliver and collect mail along his rural route by vehicle due to the larger distances between customers.

Justin starts his workday at 8 a.m. by gathering the mail and sorting it according to customer and the order of his route, which takes him about an hour. Justin notes this is something many people don’t know that mail carriers are required to do because they assume it is done for them at the facility. Nevertheless, it is a vital component of their job.

Once he finishes gathering and sorting the mail, Justin loads up the van and heads to his route. In total, his route takes him around six to six and a half hours to complete. However, based on the volume of mail during certain times of the year such as the Christmas season, his hours can vary significantly. As a result, Justin says that during some Christmas seasons, he would not finish his route until 7:30 or 8 p.m. Moreover, inclement weather can also lengthen the duration of his route.

Although he completes the same route every day, these factors result in day-to-day uncertainty, which can make it hard to plan ahead. Therefore, Justin explains, it’s important for USPS workers to always be ready for change, which is why his advice to new USPS workers is to hang in there and give it time since so much is being thrown at you all at once in the beginning, but it gets easier as you go and is just a matter of believing that you can get through it.

Ebone Plummer

Lehigh Township resident, Ebone Plummer, works as a city carrier for the Northampton Post Office.

Ebone’s USPS career began when she was looking for a job that would provide her with more income to support her family. One of her close friends worked at USPS at that time and suggested she apply.

Since being hired, Ebone has served for 18 years as a USPS worker, which she says has allowed her to live a normal, happy life and provide for her family.

As a city carrier, Ebone’s job is to sort, deliver and collect mail primarily on foot. She begins sorting the mail for her route at 8 a.m. and it takes her about two hours to complete. Then, she heads out around 10 a.m. to the 466 stops along her route.

Every day is different due to mail volume, weather conditions and other factors, but she typically finishes her route around 4:30 p.m.

Ebone points out that in addition to being physically fit to withstand the demand of their routes, letter carriers must also be mentally strong to endure the harsh elements and other obstacles that may arise such as encountering aggressive dogs and being overwhelmed when the post office is short-staffed.

One of the most challenging times for USPS workers was during the Covid-19 pandemic, Ebone shares. Due to a national deterioration in service that resulted in late mail deliveries, many customers lost their faith in the Postal Service, she adds. This deterioration largely stemmed from the Postal Service being perpetually understaffed, which was exacerbated by pressures from the pandemic as packages reached record volumes.

Although the notion of losing customer confidence in the Postal Service is disheartening, Ebone is known throughout her route for her infectiously warm smile and her caring, positive and upbeat candor, which many customers and tail-wagging pups look forward to seeing.

Ebone credits this to her love of getting to meet different people all the time, being able to be outside all day (especially when it’s nice out), and getting to walk all day, which helps keep her in shape.

“The people really make the job, and that’s why I love what I do,” Ebone beams.

All in all, mail carriers are some of the most courageous, hardworking and dedicated individuals because of the harsh demands of their job, and they often go without thanks for their efforts. So, next time you see your mail carrier making their way through the hundreds of stops in your neighborhood, introduce yourself; you just might be the smiling face or friendly conversation that helps them feel appreciated.


  1. What a great article and it nice to see that our mail carriers getting so deserved recognition for their work. Thank you USPS


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