Photos by Danny Fulgencio

NextDoor Hillcrest Forest blew up with celebratory comments when news spread in August that Johnny Brown was back in town.

Brown, 60, started working for the U.S. Postal Service as a temp in 2005 and was hired fulltime seven years later. When his route changed in 2017, he didn’t have enough seniority to keep it. 

Neighbors such as Gabe Sorrells, who lives on Currin Drive, hated to see him go. “He’s a gentleman and a nice person to work with always,” she says.

When the route became available again this year, Brown put in for it, and he’s getting half the old route back. His route is now north of Royal Lane, west of Central Expressway, east of Hillcrest and more, including Midbury.

“I just put what I call TLC into the job — Tender -Loving Carrier,” Brown says.

He works 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and he knows most of his neighbors by name. “I really pay attention to what’s happening,” he says. “I know who has moved out. I look out for the old people. If I don’t see them for two or three days, I knock on the door and make sure they’re OK.”

He has phone numbers for 30 people on his route. One couple attended his 60th birthday party this year. He also gives out dog treats. When it’s hot, he wears a sombrero. If it’s above 45 degrees, he wears his uniform shorts.

“I’m not about rushing,” he says. “I just make sure it’s right.” 

One neighbor, Doug Clark, gave him a book, “The Fred Factor: How Passion in Your Work and Life Can Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary.” In the national bestseller, motivational speaker and author Mark Sanborn tells the true story of Fred, a mail carrier who loves his job and genuinely cares about the people he serves. Clark told Brown, “This is you.”

Clark’s wife, Judi, says the mail-carrier carrying dog treats won over the neighborhood. “He just made it his personal business besides being a postman,” she says. “He acts like this every day. He loves his job.”

Brown says he plans to retire in five years.

“I appreciate my homeowners, and I like to know that I’m giving them the best quality that I can,” he says.

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