Hot jobs: Heavy bags, long walks, high heat for letter carriers

Donald Williamson has been delivering mail in the North Texas heat for 20 years, logging five miles on foot per day. Sebastian Robertson reports.

DALLAS – Over the last three decades, the job title — mail carrier, mailman, and postal carrier, to name a few — has changed.

In 2015, it's "letter carrier" and Donald Williamson is one of the best.

"I realized that my future was ahead of me and the post office was giving me the opportunity to provide for my family," Williamson said.

Twenty years out of his close to three decades in the business have been spent at the USPS facility in Dallas' Lakewood neighborhood. Despite a long career, he didn't become a letter carrier until he was 30.

"The responsibility that we develop later in life — and this job does require responsibility — we take that more seriously at thirty," Williamson said.

Come rain, shine, or waves of heat, the routine is the same.

"Here in Lakewood, our safety goal is to be on the street by nine o'clock to get ahead of the so-called fireball," Williamson said.

Even with the temperature hovering around 100 degrees and with a 20-pound pack on his shoulder, the letter carrier is very hard to keep up with. He covers a lot of ground.

The job is the same, despite the weather, though the uniform changes. Williamson's saving grace in the summer is that signature white helmet.

Cover five miles a day, and you get to know the people you pass along the way.

"I have, over the years, attended graduations, funerals, weddings," Williamson said. "I have done a number of things over the years that I have really appreciated."

Among all the change around him, Donald Williamson is proof that at least one thing stays the same.


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