Local postal worker knew from the start that she would follow in her family's footsteps.
Every morning for the past 21 years, Melody Green has continued a family tradition; she puts on her U.S. Postal Service uniform, and delivers the mail.
“My grandfather worked for the Postal Service for 41 years,” Green said. “My mother also worked for the Post Office. So for me, it was a career to be proud of.”
Green was ready to begin delivering mail in Palm Coast when she moved here in 1993. She took the test and waited. No call from the post office came. The reason? She didn't have a driver's license. Living in New York, she hadn't needed one. All postal carriers are required to have at least two year's driving experience.
“I was very eager to start working, and knew it was the job that would be long term for me,” Green said. “I had no idea I needed a license. My grandfather delivered the mail in New York and didn't have a driver's license until halfway through his career.”
Two years later, June 1995, she got the job and never looked back.
“A typical day starts with retrieving all the mail for delivery on my route for that day, organizing all the letters, magazines and packages for delivery and then loading all of the items for delivery in the order in which they will be delivered,” she said. “Then I hit the street to actually deliver the mail.”
Her route typically takes about four hours, and in the summer, four hours in a postal truck with no air conditioning can be tough. Carriers are constantly reminded about the importance of staying hydrated, and calling in for help if they don't feel right.
Green sees her job as more than putting envelopes in mailboxes, and packages at the door. She knows her customers in the L-section in Matanzas Woods, and watches out for them. A practice that Postmaster James Davis said is not uncommon for postal carriers across the country.
“We have stories across the country about carriers who have saved lives,” Davis said. “Something seemed off, and they looked in a window, to see someone laying on the ground, or saved someone from a fire. They are out there every day, they know when something is not right.”
One customer stood out in Green's mind.
“I had a customer notify me they were going out of town on vacation for a week,” she recalled. “Two days later I noticed their car was back in their driveway, so I knocked on the door to check if everything was alright. They came to the door smiling cheek to cheek. They came back early to adopt a beautiful baby boy. They had been waiting for years and years, and the chance came just after they left for vacation. The smiles on their faces were priceless.”
Green said she has been stopped by police officers investigating a home burglarly, and asked to report anything out of the ordinary, and by people looking for lost dogs.
“If we notice mail piled up in a box, and it appears they are there, we will knock on the door to make sure everything is okay,” she said. “For me, it's just being observant and looking around the neighborhood.”
Recently Davis conducted interviews for more carriers. The post office is constantly hiring because many people don't realize what is required to do the job successfully.
“We send them out with a carrier for a few days, and sometimes lose 5 to 10 people because they realize it is not the easy job they thought it was,” Davis said. “Melody and a lot of carriers make it look easy, but that's from years of organizational skills, wanting to do a good job, and caring about our customers. I am very strong on customer service."
Routes are varied. Green has a residential route of about 700 houses. Other areas are more condensed in high rise buildings and business complexes, so some carriers may drive 60-70 miles a day, while others, delivering the same amount, drive only 10.
Green and the Postal Service said there are things customers can do to ensure successful mail delivery, including using a complete and correct address with apartment numbers and street, road, lane, etc.; always using the ZIP code; completing a change of address card well in advance of any move; and keeping dogs confined or restrained. Even normally nonagressive dogs may bite or attack the mail carrier.