KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — With December being one of the busiest months for shopping, it’s also the busiest for postal workers.
Eric Shanahan has been a mail carrier with the United States Postal Service for 21 years. He said they see an excess of packages from Black Friday through the end of the year.
According to Shanahan, the holidays are when he connects with his customers the most.
“I have customers who say ‘My kids think you’re Santa Claus,’ and it’s wonderful, it’s a great feeling,” he said.
To deliver the surplus amount of packages, workers have to take extra measures.
“At times they’ll have us come in early, our normal start time here in Knoxville at our office anyway is 7:30, and right now we’ll come in anywhere between 5:30 and 6:30,” he said.
They also have to take multiple trips throughout the day.
“Generally, we can’t fit all the packages in one run in our truck, so we’ll go out and we’ll deliver packages in the morning early, and then we come back and do a second load and even a third if necessary to finish all the packages on any given day,” he explained.
Despite the extra work, Shanahan said this time of the year makes the job extra special.
“December is always the hardest time for us because we have such a large volume of packages but it’s a very rewarding job in the long run, because you’re delivering love, you’re delivering packages that are going to be gifts for Christmas, they’re going to be things to give to loved ones. It’s a from the heart job kind of,” he said.
His customers share the feeling.
“I have a couple of people on my route who leave snacks out for all delivery drivers, not just the USPS but they do for all of their delivery drivers,” he said. “A lot of them will come out and say ‘Do you need a drink, is there anything I can do to help you out?’”
His relationship with his customers is one of the reasons he’s stuck with the job for more than two decades.
“I like to say I have the best customers in the world, they’re all super friendly, I almost have never had a problem with my customers ever, and they’re always smiling and want to talk,” he said.
Last holiday season, the USPS delivered nearly 12 billion packages.