SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — A longtime employee of the U.S. Postal Service hoisted his mailbag for a final time Thursday. John Olson walked his last route in Sioux Falls ending a 39-year career. But it was the people Olson has served for so long who made their own special delivery on his last day.
Olson is stepping-down from a job he’s loved for nearly 40 years. 18 of those years were spent delivering mail in the neighborhood around St. Mary School.
“It’s really a nice neighborhood. It must be, I stuck here for 18 years,” Olson said.
Olson walks about 12-miles a day going door-to-door on his route. And yes, he’s done the math.
“And my brother-in-law’s brother and I sat down one time and we were trying to figure out how much. It must be over 30,000 miles now. Around the world, but I haven’t seen a lot,” Olson said.
But Olson has met a lot of people along the way.
“I don’t have a bad patron out here. You just gotta learn to talk to them, just talk to people,” Olson said.
Many of those people along his route put out signs and balloons in honor of their retiring mail carrier.
“We’re all going to miss him. Always on-time, rain or shine. He’s the epitome of the old mailman,” Jeff Sweetman of Sioux Falls said.
Olson has a family history of heart disease. So all this walking on the job has been good for his health.
“I lost a brother from heart disease and my dad has had two bypasses and my brother’s had a bypass, so keep on truckin,’ I guess,” Olson said.
Olson says he’s overwhelmed by the all the support from the community and his co-workers as he walks-off into retirement. To Olson, this first-class career has been as much about the people as it is the parcels.
“I’m just doing my job; I guess I’m appreciated, somewhat. So, it’s been great,” Olson said.
Now that he’s retired Olson plans to spend time with his grandchildren and on the golf course. His immediate plans include hosting a party this weekend for all the patrons on his route.