'While You Were Sleeping': Not rain, snow, sleet, hail, nor overnight hours can stop the mail

U.S. Postal Service workers stay up all night to get the mail out

By Katrina Webber - Crime Fighters Reporter, Tim Stewart - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - U.S. Postal Service workers are known for braving all types of weather to get the mail to homes and businesses.

They also stand up to time, working all night long to scan, sort and send out letters and packages.

“If I came in later, the mail wouldn't be up. We have to get the mail up before the (letter) carriers get here,” said Steven Tiffany, a distributor who works the overnight shift at the Richland Hills post office.

Tiffany arrives at work each day at 2 a.m., a shift he worked initially to allow him to spend time with his children when they were younger.

But he says the benefits of it don’t end there.

“I get away from the traffic. There's not as many people around here,” he said.

Part of his job includes unloading trucks that carry mail from the main post office on Perrin Beitel Road.

Most of it already has been presorted.

Tiffany helps to break it all down into even smaller groups, then prepare it for pickup by the appropriate letter carriers.

“These are our hampers. We throw all the mail into these hampers,” he said, pointing out some of the many sorting bins.

On a given day, he handles about 6,000 pieces of mail.  At Christmas time, that number can more than double.

He’s one of more than 200 employees who work at that location, which serves a huge area, from just outside Leon Valley nearly down to Castroville.

With that much volume, there is little room for error.

“It's going to delay the mail, and we have to be better than 95 percent correct in everything we do,” Tiffany said.

They do it all while also working against the clock, preparing what some call “snail mail” at a race pace.

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