Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Dani Hemmat

Left Hand Laurel: Postman Jay delivers good deeds in Gunbarrel


January 10, 2019

Courtesy photo

Justus “Jay” Nichols and his sons raking up and helping out

Justus “Jay” Nichols is a United States postman whose route is in the Gunbarrel Estates/Boulder Tech Center neighborhood. He’s been delivering folks their mail there since 2005, but residents along Jay’s route know that he brings more than just letters and packages. He brings goodness.

Nicknamed “Jumping Jay” by some of the neighborhood kids for the way he jumps in and out of his mail truck, Jay began getting to know his customers on his first day. At his very first mailbox, he noticed a dog wandering loose on the busy street of North 71st. Concerned for the dog’s safety, he coaxed the dog close enough to read his collar. Since the dog lived 10 houses down the street, Nichols escorted the pooch to the address to see if the owners were home. The Arens family was home, happy to get their dog Serano back, and thus began Postman Jay’s relationships with both the neighborhood dogs and their people.

“It wasn’t long before I started to get to know a lot of the dogs’ names in the neighborhood.,” Nichols said. “They would come out and greet me and it was also a way to break the ice with the customers. Also, it was a safe way to protect myself from dog bites. If a dog knows who you are, they tend not to act aggressively.”

Since that first day, Postman Jay has returned multiple pets who have wandered from their owners’ yards.

A few years back, Nichols was on his route and came across an elderly man, Mr. White, lying face down in the snow. Mr. White had slipped in the snow and was struggling to get back up. Nichols had learned from recent events that Mr. White suffered from occasional seizures. He was concerned that he would suffer them again while shoveling snow and possibly not be able to get up in time.

Nichols called the Boulder police to come out and check up on his safety, and to see if he needed medical attention. The police officers then helped shovel his driveway, and that of his neighbor—which he was trying to shovel, as well—and this paper then featured the officers in a story.

Another time, Postman Jay came across one of his customer’s homes that had several bags of leaves in the driveway. Nichols lives in a neighborhood with young trees that don’t produce enough leaves to even be raked, so he asked the owners, the Tallman family, if he could take the bags home with him. The Tallmans questioned him as to why, and he explained that he wanted his kids to have the experience of jumping into big piles of leaves, then rake them up again. They agreed and Nichols’ kids got to enjoy some good old-fashioned fun.

Last year, Nichols learned from Mrs.Tallman that her husband had suffered a sciatic nerve injury. With heartfelt compassion, Nichols offered to do the raking for them, but the timing was difficult due to the busy holidays and his work schedule.

This year, he wanted to help them out in some way. Following the first snowfall, the ash trees in their yard dumped almost all their leaves in one night. Nichols woke early and drove from Greeley to the Tallmans’ home to rake their leaves as a surprise. Arriving at their home at 6 a.m., Nichols began. The Tallmans woke to find their mailman in their front yard, raking their leaves, leaving them surprised, shocked and grateful at the same time.

A few weeks after that, Nichols saw an opportunity to teach his two boys, ages eight and 10, about serving others without hope of gain. He brought them back to the Tallmans’ home to help rake up the backyard. A neighbor saw them working, snapped a photo and shared the uplifting news on the NextDoor social media app.

Courtesy photo

Left Hand Laurel: Postman Jay delivers good deeds in Gunbarrel

Nichols was a little embarrassed when approached for this story, as his kindness seems to be second nature for him. And while the folks of Gunbarrel Estates appreciate the good man they see almost daily when he delivers their mail, Nichols is equally appreciative of them.

“The people of the Gunbarrel Estates neighborhood do really care about their neighbors,” he said. “It's something you don't see a lot in the newer sub-developments that have mailbox hubs and six-foot-high fences. People don't get to know who their neighbors are, but this neighborhood really does.

“I've been very honored to be their mail carrier and have become aware of what type of neighborhood this place is. I have become the mailman that's known as Jumpin’ Jay, the Goat Herder, the Dog Rescuer, Your Animal’s Best Friend, the Leaf Raker, but most of all, I'm just glad the people of this neighborhood call me Friend.”


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