I get my best writing ideas in the car. I was thinking about the Castro Valley resident who was attacked by her Amazon driver this week. Apparently, the older woman received an email that her package had arrived, but when she went to the lobby where the mailboxes were, there was no package. She saw the Amazon driver outside and asked for her package.
Before I continue with the true account, let me say that I have been both the driver and the package receiver. But this was way before Amazon, this was in 1978 and 1979 when I worked summers as a temp flex letter carrier for the U.S. post office.
I filled in for guys on vacation and had a different route every week. I also picked up the mail run in the afternoons where I had to collect mail from a dozen or so mailboxes and get it all back to the station in time for the last mail truck that pulled out at 4:45. The schedule gave me three to five mintues to get to each street mailbox, park, empty the contents, put them in a bag and into the truck and drive to the next location.
Mind you, I was in a big box truck, not a little mail truck. I was a woman doing a mostly man’s job, and lots of people were intrigued. They called out to me and wanted to chit chat. I didn’t have time for that.
I’d gotten up that day at 4:45 to report to work by 6:00 a.m. in Omaha, even though I lived in a farmhouse 30 miles south of there. Now it was 4:00 p.m. ish, and I was determined to get back to my station on time. If I failed, then I’d have to haul the mail all the way downtown, which was the opposite direction from the farmhouse. It was 84 blocks downtown in the box truck and 84 blocks back to where my car was parked. It added about 45 minutes to my work day. Yes, I’d get paid for that time, but still.
Plus, I was the first female letter carrier at that station. I was trying to prove that I was as capable as any guy. I could lift those 70-pound bags of mail, mostly because I was young, 23 years old.
I had loaded up the mail in the truck, had climbed into the driver’s seat and had started the engine at one mailbox when a woman swooped in front of me, parked, got out of her car, door open, to thrust a letter into my hands.
I was furious.
- I could’ve hit her car.
- I would certainly be behind schedule as I waited for her to get back in her car and get out of my way. It wasn’t worth backing up. I ran over a bicycle once doing that, but thank God, the kid had just gotten off of it and had left it in the street.
Back to the story that happened this week. The older woman continued to pester the Amazon driver for her package, to which the driver said, “You’ll get your package.”
We’ve all been there, waiting on a service person to be faster. The worst thing you can do is to pressure them. It just slows them down.
The older woman turned away from the driver as she was putting her key into the locked door to the lobby.
“You don’t have to be a bitch about it,” she said.
The Amazon driver snapped and pelted the older woman with punches to the top of her head, finishing it off with an upper cut to the nose.
The Amazon driver was fired and also arrested (she is 21).
The older woman has a broken nose and was too shaken up to speak on camera for last night’s news.
What can we learn from this?
- Be nice to service people. They are often doing the best that they can.
- Not everyone has the temperament to do a service job.
Yes, the younger woman broke the law. Yes, she was rightfully arrested.
But why did the older woman feel the need to call her a bitch? Why was that necessary?