Meet Penn State’s New Mailman Jim Frey
If you’ve visited the post office in the past month, you’ve noticed things are a little different. The face behind the counter, while friendly, isn’t the gray-haired, cookie-appreciating pseudo-celebrity we all know and love. With Mike “The Mailman” Herr officially enjoying retirement, there’s a new University Park mailman selling you stamps and shipping your packages.
Meet Jim Frey. Though he doesn’t officially have the gig yet, he’s in the running to take over as Penn State’s mailman.
“Right now the job is going out to bid for the most senior bidder,” Frey said. “So I’m here for anywhere between 30 and 120 days.”
Although there is no guarantee (yet) that Frey will permanently fill the role, he is in the running for the position at the University Park post office. “I’ve been in the post office for 20 years,” Frey said. “At the main office down on Fraser Street, I worked nights and worked the window part-time during the afternoon and weekends.”
While Frey is originally from Bellefonte, Dear Old State runs in the family: his wife works at Penn State and his sister is an alumna. His children also hope to spend their college careers at Penn State. “My wife works here and my kids plan on coming up here, so it would be nice for me to stay up here,” Frey said. “If my kids come up here, then we could go to lunch together.”
Although Frey doesn’t have the 48 years of experience that Mike the Mailman enjoyed, his experience working in university parcels at the Fraser Street post office allowed him to become familiar with campus and the different buildings.
“I keep saying I have big shoes to fill,” Frey said. “But if a 70-year old man can do it, I should be able to handle it.”
The adjustment from night shift to regular working hours has been difficult, but Frey prefers to stay busy while he’s on the clock. “I enjoy the students — they’re a challenge,” Frey said. “It’s a different atmosphere up here. So far, everybody’s been nice. They ask a lot of questions.”
Though Mike the Mailman’s 30-year Cookie of the Month contest may not live on, Frey won’t say no to a good cookie. “I’d go with chocolate chip,” Frey said when asked his favorite. “Nobody has brought me cookies yet, though. But I’m like the cookie monster — I eat anything.”
Coincidentally, he prefers ice cream. But luckily for us, Frey plans to continue Mike the Mailman’s witty banter with customers.
“For you, I’m running a discount because it’s Monday. It’s $9.40 for a book of 20,” Frey said to a student who was clearly unaware that a book of stamps always costs $9.40. He then offered a choice of Harry Potter, Charlie Brown, or flags stamps.
“I just want to make things easy,” Frey said.
Meeting Jim the Mailman was a pleasure, and I left the post office with a smile on my face and Elton John’s “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” fading out behind me. While there’s certainly no replacing Mike, Frey could be the one in the McAllister building sending your packages for the next 48 years.
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