PITTSBURGH — Reliability is a trait that can be hard to find a person. So when one Pittsburgh neighborhood found out they were losing someone who’s been a staple in their community six days a week, they held a special send-off.
“He’s almost a family member,” said 86-year old Armetta Swan, of Point Breeze.
Dan Gardner has been there for the people along the Point Breeze mail route for the past 24 years.
Michael and Janis Pinsky, of Point Breeze, said Gardner watched their children grow up. “We think of him as a friend as opposed to as just a mailman,” they said.
A week ago, Gardner left notes at each home on his route, including about 40 streets. Inside the letter, it said thank you and explained that he been with the U.S. Postal Service for 34 years, and he decided to move into another position that would allow him to be inside. July 31 was his final delivery day to Route 54.
Robin Friedman said it’s a bittersweet day. While she’s happy for him, she will miss him.
“He’s predictable when he’s coming,” Friedman said. “You get the wave the hi, the nod, just a good guy.”
The relationships he built with the families are those you often hear about in small towns or older generations about the good old days.
Janis Pinsky said Gardner would go above and beyond for his customers.
“He was able to hide gifts. You could tell him something was coming with a label on it, and he’d stick it in a special place for me where no one could see it, but I knew where to find it,” she said.
Swan said Gardner always took care of her. He would even circle back to her home.
“Sometimes he comes back to get my mail to pick up (a letter) I was writing and wasn’t ready to take,” Swan said.
During his final day, the neighborhood sent him off with signs and cards. A few gathered to thank him with elbow bumps. Gardner told Channel 11 he’s honored by the support and said his knees were the reason he gave up his route.
“I enjoy the challenge,” Gardner said. “I think of it as exercise and not a job. I enjoy taking care of people the best I can. That’s what gives me the pleasure.”
Even though they won't see each other six days a week, neighbors say they hope Gardner stops by when he's in the area.
“It’s good luck, not goodbye,” Friedman said.
Gardner is making us proud to be from Pittsburgh.
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