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Slice of Life: Delivering mail with Daniel Giles

Sunday - 2/10/2013, 3:15pm  ET

Mailman_NP.JPG
D.C. mailman Daniel Giles has been delivering mail the past 25 years. He says he's in favor of the U.S. Postal Service stopping mail delivery on Saturdays, but it could cause a lot of financial problems for his co-workers. (WTOP/Natalie Plumb)

A special delivery

For one woman, receiving mail from Daniel Giles was the highlight of her day.

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Natalie Plumb, special to wtop.com

WASHINGTON - With the U.S. Postal Service planning to cut Saturday delivery in August, WTOP caught up with mail carrier Daniel Giles to reflect on the Postal Service's decision to curb Saturday deliveries.

Ending Saturday delivery would save about $2 billion for the Postal Service, but also leave many mailmen and women without overtime benefits that the weekend delivery day offers.

Giles, 47, has been delivering mail for the Postal Service for 25 years. Originally from Northeast D.C., Giles started delivering in Anacostia in 1988. He has since delivered at the National Capitol Station and V Street Northeast post offices. For the past nine years, Giles has worked for the post office's Friendship Heights station. He works alongside about 120 mail carriers 40 to 60 hours per week. On "long days" -- about once or twice a week -- Giles works 10-hour days.

WTOP followed Giles during a "long day," a route Friday afternoon to two Northwest high-rise apartment complexes along Massachusetts Avenue -- The Berkshire and The Avalon -- and a handful of residential blocks on Macomb Street. Giles estimates he delivered mail to about 3,500 people on Friday alone.

Giles talked about his pet peeves, his beef with dogs and the mail sorter and his favorite customers.

Would you say this the best place you've ever worked?

Yes I would. I like the way the houses are spread out away from each other as opposed to the row houses. Those can be strenuous on your knees, crossing banisters and things like that.

How many miles do you walk in a day?

Now, not many. Maybe about a mile throughout the day just walking building to building and delivering parcels within the building.

And previously, what's the most you've ever walked?

I would say probably close to 10 miles.

Wow. Every day?

Every day.

Were you in incredible shape then?

Yes, I definitely was. I'm a military veteran so I pretty much kept in shape.

Where were you stationed?

Camp Pendleton, Calif., Okinawa, Japan, Camp Lejeune, N.C.... I was never in the war, thankfully. From 1984 to late 1987, I was in the U.S. Marine Corps. I was honorably discharged from the Marines. Then I came into the Postal Service.

What's your favorite house to deliver to? The pretty ones? The ones closer to the sidewalk?

The ones where I don't have to dismount from the vehicle (laughs), which is rare in this area because pretty much all of the mailboxes are attached to the houses.

Do you have a family?

Yes, I have a beautiful wife named Geneva. And I have a 25-year-old daughter who will be getting married in July of this year. And I have an 11-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old son.

Does work ever prevent you from going to any school events or things like that?

Fortunately and unfortunately, because we work on Saturday, that hinders some of the things that I would like to do with my family on Saturdays.

What about stopping delivery on Saturdays? How do you feel about that?

I'm in favor of it myself. But for my fellow co-workers, I feel for them because I have a business that I do outside of the Postal Service. So no matter what happens in the Postal Service...for me, I'll be OK. I'm in favor of it for myself, but for them it could be a problem.

How would it be a problem?

Because a lot of them come into work on their day off, making Saturday overtime for them. That's one thing they'd miss.

Why are you in favor?

It gives me a chance to do some things with my family that normally, if I'm at work on Saturday, I wouldn't get a chance to do. A lot of the things that the kids like to do are on Saturdays. That's the day that I would consider family time. I can't be with them if I'm here.

How often do you work on Saturdays?

I use a lot of leave now because of my business that I do on Saturdays. So I use leave so I can be off, but when I can't use leave, I have to be here (laughs).

What's your other business?

It's a telecom business. It's multi-level marketing, which some people are against. But it's proven to be pretty lucrative for my family, and I hope to be retiring early from the Postal Service because of it.

When do you plan on retiring?

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