Chicago mailman 'Mister Bob' retiring after more than 50 years

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - The mailman known affectionately as "Mister Bob" is calling it quits next week.

Robert Peterson has been making deliveries on Chicago’s North Side for more than 50 years.

“I've always been a letter carrier. Mailman. We called them mailmen in the ‘60s,” said Peterson.

To be exact, 1965 is when Peterson started as a mailman. He was fresh out of the Army.

“And they hired me right away. I was working within two months. And I said, I'll do that until I can figure out what I want to do. And I still haven't figured it out,” Peterson said.

Now, though, he's figured out it's time to retire. Peterson spent 30 years trudging door to door. Then, 20 years delivering to high rises. The postal service says he’s dropped off an estimated 7.9-million letters and packages.

“The biggest change I've seen is the letter, first class letter, drop off. And the parcel post, pick up, with Amazon and those kind of guys,” Peterson said.

FOX 32: How many times have you been bitten by dogs?

“Actually twice. And both, by customer's dogs,” he said.

FOX 32: Any injuries?

“I broke my toe one time,” he said.

FOX 32: How'd you do that?

“I dropped a heavy package on it. But I didn't miss any work!” Peterson said.

In fact, Peterson rarely missed any work. He's accrued 21 months of sick time that he'll get paid for upon retirement.

In his five decades of delivering mail in Chicago, there is one area where ‘Mister Bob’ has become an expert: how to handle Chicago's weather.

“Absolutely keep your feet dry. Wear double socks,” Peterson said.

The worst weather he says was the 1967 blizzard: 23 inches of snow over a day and a half.

“There was only one day we didn't have delivery. The next day, they said, you take first class letters only. So I had about three bundles, and they said do what you can do,” Peterson said.

‘Mister Bob’ retires on January 1.

No surprise here, he plans to take it easy over the winter. Then, he says, he'll start looking for some part time work.

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