Neighbors from Jim Leyden’s UPSP delivery route gathered on Mountfort Road in North Yarmouth to surprise him with a retirement party. Courtesy / Katie Murphy

NORTH YARMOUTH —  Jim Leyden, a recently retired postal carrier for the USPS, wondered why his wife was taking the long way home from shopping and a late lunch on Dec. 27 – until he saw neighbors gathered to celebrate their favorite local mailman.

“I was very much surprised,” Leyden said. “When the road opened up and I saw the line of people, I was so touched by how many people actually showed up.”

“I thought we should honor him in some way,” said Leslie Taisey, who helped organize the surprise. “… it’s a very unusual thing to have someone in your neighborhood every day for over 30 years,” 

Leyden, 62, officially retired from his position the week before Christmas after 35 years with the postal service. Leyden said the increase in his workload due to the pandemic was too stressful.

2020 was the year that pushed me out,” Leyden said. “I wanted to last until I was 65, but with Amazon and COVID-19, it was too much. I had done enough.”

According to the Washington Post, Amazon relies on the USPS to deliver more than 1 billion packages a year, which is 30% of its total deliveries.

We used to deliver mail, now we deliver Amazon,” Leyden said. “Mailboxes were made for mail. For the last year, most days I could not fit all of the packages in the back of the vehicles they provide. I had over 530 stops on my route, and you get one person ordering a 50-pound bag of dog food, another person ordering a mattress in the mail, another one that’s ordering a baby seat, so you run out of space pretty quick.” 

Leyden said the work was very physically demanding, and there were several days he was out delivering mail for 10 hours. When asked what kept him going for all those years, he said his wife, his two daughters, and the people he delivered to.

Jim Leyden shows off new slippers he received at a surprise retirement party. Courtesy / Katie Murphy

“I had people that I delivered to for the whole 35 years and they’re special; you get to know them,” Leyden said. “I also lived on my own route and delivered my own mail. So I really was a part of it. Mailmen today, they drive in from all over the state to come work out of Yarmouth. In the old days, mailmen used to live in town and know everybody. Nowadays they don’t. So it was nice for me to be able to do that. 

When he drove by his arm would always fly out the window with a big wave,” said Taisey, who has known Leyden for 30 years. “He went the extra mile to do what he had to do on these bumpy back roads.”

When Leyden arrived at the surprise gathering, his neighbors cheered with homemade signs and offerings of recognition.

“We all sang ‘He’s a Jolly Good Fellow'” and gave him the chair of honor in the driveway and he said a few words to the crowd about how much he enjoyed all of us over the years,” Taisey said. “It was a nice moment, there were tears.”

Growing up, Leyden’s family moved around quite a bit. It wasn’t until he moved to North Yarmouth over 30 years ago that he was able to settle down.

“I’ve never lived anywhere this long, that’s why it’s special to me,” Leyden said. “I never had a hometown, so now I do.”  

 

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