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Just Give Me a Chance…

Born without a hand, John Mullins never thought of himself as handicapped. Now he’s retiring from the Postal Service after an almost 40 year career.

Tour 1 Distribution Clerk John Mullins says when he returned from his honeymoon in 1973, there was a letter from the Postal Service telling him he had an interview.

“But when I showed up for the interview, the guy looked at me and said he would have to talk to the doc. The doctor told me there was no work for me,” said Mullins.

Born without a hand, he never thought of himself as handicapped. “I played three sports in high school,” he said. “The kids I ran with and associated with in school never treated me differently.”

After his interview, he contacted the discrimination office in Memphis who informed him there were discrimination laws against sex, race and religion but nothing about handicap on the books. “So I just accepted what I had been told,” he said. In 1973, the Disability Act had yet to be written.

Photo of John Mullins

Mullins was hired by Romar Gleason, a Louisville retail catalog company. The way Mullins had been treated by the Postal Service didn’t sit well with his supervisor, whose father was a letter carrier, so he started making calls including one to then Kentucky Congressman Ron Mazzoli.

Within two weeks, Mullins was sitting in the office of Louisville Postmaster Sal Devito who asked the 19-year-old Mullins why he wanted to work for the Post Office. “I told him it was a great career and the Post Office had a lot to offer. I told him I just wanted a chance.”

Mullins was given an 89-day casual appointm

ent. “I went from making $2.30 an hour to $4.85,” he said. “On the night I started, I got a 20-cent cost of living raise before I had even clocked in. I thought I had died and gone to heaven because I had more than doubled my pay.”

Now more than 38 years later, Mullins is ready to call it quits and retire. “The Postal Service has been very good to me,” he said. “It’s provided me with a great living, helped me raise four kids and sent them to Catholic schools and college, I live in a decent house and drive a new car all because of this job. I couldn’t have done better anywhere else.

“Working Tour 1 has afforded me the opportunity to eat lunch with my kids, go on school field trips, tuck them in at night and be at home when they get up the next morning” he said.

What does he plan to do when he retires?

Mullins says he wants to work more with Special Olympics and handicapped kids, volunteer at schools and perhaps even have lunch with his two grandchildren and go on their school field trips as well.

About the Author

Marilyn Jones has been a journalist for more than 30 years and is currently a freelance feature writer specializing in travel. Her articles have appeared in major newspapers including the BostonGlobe, Akron Beacon Journal and Chicago Sun-Times as well as regional travel magazines.

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