Hitting The Million Mile Mark

Monday, August 22, 2011 - 6:45am

Several California mail carriers will soon cross a huge milestone.

"I'm going on 31 years now."

In his three decades with the U.S. Postal Service, Mark Bartholomew has delivered a heck of a lot of mail.

"Big packages... I've delivered bicycles, tires, delivered a surfboard once."

When he's not walking his Emeryville route, he's driving.

But in all those years behind the wheel there is one thing Bartholomew has never experienced, and that's an accident.

"Now people have cell phones and stuff like that, they don't pay attention and so you jut have to drive very defensively." says Bartholomew.

The U.S. Postal Service estimates Bartholomew has now driven a million miles in his mail truck, all without a scratch.

Not even a dent.

It's not that the other drivers aren't trying.

"People try to change lanes into me. I'm always watching the guy next to me to see what he's going to do.

You might think such a record would put Bartholomew in a class by himself.

Turns out he's merely joined a very exclusive group.

Today the U.S. Postal Service welcomed 22 Bay Area postal carriers into its million mile club.

It's a club where the only dues are 30 years behind the wheel without incident.

"When you think about a million miles..." says Gus Ruiz of the USPS, "...you know it kind of boggles the mind, but it's equivalent to driving 40 times around the world."

Of course anyone will tell you it takes more than just good driving skills to stay out of trouble.

"I consider it lucky driver is better..." says mail carrier Dante Zamora. "I'd rather be lucky than good."

Some 300 mail carriers out of 44-hundred in the bay area have made the club in the last thirteen years.

Comes as the postal service faces major changes

"Much less volume..." says Bartholomew. "...I'm probably getting quarter of the mail half the mail than I use to get."

Though the post office is considering cut backs and lay offs it insists it will always need carriers.

People like Bartholomew who deliver a measure of care every time the take the wheel.

Joe Rosato Jr., NBC News.

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