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Mike The Mailman Chats With Penn State Students On Periscope

Our beloved Mike ‘The Mailman’ Herr is in his final month of the job he’s held for 48 years. During that span, he’s seen all there is to see in Happy Valley, making memories and sharing smiles with students, faculty, and alumni. He made sending mail fun, and helped teach valuable life lessons in the process. He took some time out of his busy workday to answer some questions and share a few laughs via Penn State’s official Periscope.

Herr’s had the pleasure of working with some great people, and that’s exactly who he’ll miss the most once he hangs up the cleats in April. “I’ll miss the customers, and I’ll miss coming into work at 8:29 in the morning,” Herr said. “I’ll miss the camaraderie and I’m definitely going to miss the people. It’s been a fun ride, but after 48 years, it’s time.” 

Retirement can be daunting for those who’ve only known one thing for such a substantial amount of time, but Herr plans on approaching it with the same cheerful, can-do attitude he does with every daily encounter. Although, there will be no weekdays spent on the links. “No fishing or golfing for me,” Herr explained. “My first order of business will be cleaning out my garage. I’ll definitely play some tennis, too. Not well, but I play. There will be plenty of dancing with my wife and poker, if you consider that a hobby.” Ever so handy, Herr says he’ll focus on landscaping, which he routinely does around his own house. 

Nobody can tell a story quite like the witty Herr, who shared one of his favorites from his legendary career as Penn State’s mailman.

“I remember one time in particular where we pulled a prank on the THON Executive Director about 15 years ago,” Herr said. “The committee felt that the Overall Chair was stressed. We told him that we had a package from New York waiting for him in the office. When he came in, the rest of the committee came in the back with a video camera. I said it was a very fragile box, and when I brought it to him I stumbled over and it ‘broke.’ His eyes got real wide, and the whole committee came in behind him laughing. He was much more calm the rest of the week, and that was the very beginning of my ‘Relax’ sign.” 

The famous “Relax” sign Herr is referring to now features the same word written in more than 40 languages — from Dutch to Farsi, Herr has it covered.

Herr’s daughter joined in on the fun, saying how proud she is of her famous father and how much fun it is being his daughter. As she praised her dad, Mike took a minute to assist a customer. The customer turned out to be a young mailman who’d just started his job two weeks ago. “Someday, I want to be a real mailman,” Herr said as he took the package. The jovial encounter wasn’t for the camera or show. It was simply a natural example of how much fun Herr has on the job, and proof that he’ll crack a joke when people least expect it.

As the session wrapped up, Herr offered whoever succeeds him in the position a few words of advice. “Just have fun,” Herr said. “If you’re going to spend eight hours somewhere, you might as well have fun with it.”

He then left the audience a few words to live by. “Live in the moment and enjoy every day,” Herr said. A simple phrase that he’s lived by all his life. He reaffirmed that his retirement on April 1 indeed isn’t an April Fool’s joke, but the palpable impact he’s made during his time at Penn State will be remembered for generations to come.

About the Author

David Abruzzese

David is a senior from Rochester, NY, nestled right in beautiful Western New York. He is majoring in Broadcast Journalism, and as an avid sports fan, he passionately supports the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. He is the first Penn Stater from his family, and couldn’t be prouder to represent Penn State University. In his free time, he likes to alpine ski, and play golf. You can follow him on Twitter @abruz11, and can contact him via email at [email protected]

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