Think of the world’s exhilarating jobs. Firefighters! Safari guides! Secret agents! Each day must be an action-packed escapade worthy of front-page treatment. But, while these gigs are surely full of adrenaline, we posit there’s one day job more full of adrenaline than any other: newspaper carrier.
Yes, that’s right. The folks that drop your Times or Post on the stoop practically live superhero lives. Whether they’re narrowly escaping life-threatening peril or stepping up to quite literally save the day, their stories are outrageous enough to belong on the pages they deliver—front and center. Here are the craziest.
The one who got stabbed (but finished the job anyway)
While many people are dedicated to their jobs, few have the wherewithal to continue working once they’ve been stabbed—with the exception of one particularly dedicated newspaper carrier.
That’s right: an Anchorage, Alaska, newspaper carrier was stabbed repeatedly during his morning delivery shift, but continued to get the morning news to his customers anyway, delivering papers even after being put in mortal danger.
The one who stopped an armed robbery
Chances are your average newspaper carrier is likely a law-abiding citizen, but at least one of them is a law-enforcing citizen, as well.
Case in point: in December 2016, a newspaper carrier in Carrollton, Georgia, followed an armed robber who’d recently held up a gas station, leading police right to the suspect, who was subsequently arrested.
The one who scared off an intruder
If you want to keep your house safe from burglars, don’t just rely on your neighbors—rely on your newspaper carrier. In March 2018, a newspaper carrier in Buffalo startled a would-be burglar trying to gain access to a house, scaring him off and keeping its inhabitants safe.
The one whose car got jacked
Though you may imagine newspaper carriers to get around using a bike, many prefer a four-wheeled mode of transportation—and one newspaper carrier’s choice of ride nearly cost him his life. Howard Shelton, a newspaper carrier in West Little Rock, Arkansas, was carjacked and shot while delivering papers on his route, but luckily survived to tell the tale.
The one who found a dead body
Of the many things you might expect to find while delivering newspapers, a dead body probably isn’t one of them. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what one newspaper carrier in Scarborough, Maine, found on their route—and the body was in his birthday suit, no less.
The one who got shot at
While you often hear about rival gang factions shooting at one another, you rarely hear about many people harboring much animosity toward their newspaper carrier—until now, that is. In January, 2017, a Raleigh newspaper carrier was shot at multiple times by the driver of another car while delivering papers. Luckily, none of the bullets hit him.
The one who dealt drugs
Of course, not all newspaper carriers are such good eggs. In fact, newspaper carrier Douglas Lukeheart of Sardinia, New York, was arrested when it was discovered he was passing out more than just newspapers along his route: he was also dealing marijuana to his customers.
The one who saved a collapsed woman
While many people expect that a newspaper carrier’s job starts and ends by throwing a paper onto a customer’s porch, that wasn’t the case for newspaper carrier Carl Thomas of Springfield, Ohio. While delivering papers in his hometown, Thomas looked through a customer’s front door and saw the woman face-down on the floor. Fortunately, the quick-thinking newspaper carrier called paramedics and the 69-year-old woman, who had suffered a fall, survived.
The one who saved a kitten thrown from a car
Some good news for animal lovers: your mail carrier might just be a lifesaver for your pet, too. Peter Funt, a former newspaper carrier, told the New York Times of one of his more memorable days on the job, “We heard a car pull up outside, and then a loud thud, followed by the screech of tires as the car sped away. We both ran out to discover a kitten, injured after being thrown against the concrete wall at the back of the lot.”
The good-natured mailman helped the cat recover, and she eventually became his paper-delivering partner, with Funt taking her along on for his morning rides thereafter.
The one who saved the life of woman who fell in her yard
A Gastonia, North Carolina, newspaper carrier was hailed a hero after she helped a delivery client who’d become injured. Elizabeth Bradley saved the life of an 88-year-old client who had fallen in her yard after the quick-thinking carrier heard the elderly woman calling for help. Bradley and a friend helped carry the woman to safety before contacting her family, who then got her to the hospital.
The one who committed murder
Unfortunately, the long hours and demanding nature of the job can get to newspaper carriers from time to time, sometimes even resulting in violence. In fact, in early 2017, a German newspaper carrier was arrested after fatally stabbing a customer following an argument on his route.
The one who saved the life of woman who fell in a tub
A quick-thinking newspaper carrier in Rapid City, North Dakota, saved the life of a woman on her route in September 2015. Carrier Linda Uranga-Moran, who had trained as a nurse and EMT prior to starting her newspaper route, noticed that one of her older clients hadn’t picked up her papers from her porch in some time, prompting Uranga-Moran to investigate. Uranga-Moran called the cops to request a welfare check and, lo and behold, the woman had fallen in the tub, where she’d been stuck for three days.
The one who found a diamond ring
If you happen to lose something of great value, you might be in luck if your newspaper carrier happens to be the one to find it. In 2016, an Augusta, Maine, newspaper carrier found a platinum-and-diamond ring on her route, leaving notes to some of her clients about its provenance, which eventually helped track down the ring’s rightful owner.
The duo who was mistaken for a serial killer
Sometimes, delivering the paper can be a dangerous endeavor. Such was the case for Los Angeles mother-and-daughter carrier duo Margie Carranza and Emma Hernandez, whose car was shot repeatedly by police officers during the manhunt for serial killer Christopher Dorner. Fortunately, both women survived.
The one who found a caiman
Not everyone encountered by newspaper carriers on their regular route are grateful customers. In fact, a newspaper carrier in east Tennessee discovered a caiman—a reptile related to and closely resembling a crocodile—and picked it up during their route before handing it over to animal control.
The one guilty of a hit-and-run
Those early morning wakeups required to deliver papers aren’t for everyone, apparently. Case in point: a newspaper carrier in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley fell asleep during his delivery route, crashing his car. However, instead of remaining on the scene, he fled the uninsured car and ran off before eventually being caught by authorities.
The one who fought a fire
It’s not just members of the fire department who are involved in stopping the spread of house fires. A newspaper carrier in Racine, Wisconsin, was the first person to discover an early morning fire at a house on their route, alerting local firefighters, who successfully battled the blaze with no injuries.