Snowplow driver makes amends after hitting sentimental mailbox

Dec 28, 2022, 11:25 PM | Updated: Dec 29, 2022, 10:27 am

SANDY, Utah — It’s already been quite the winter for snowplow drivers in Utah. Constant snowstorms have kept them busy.

“It has been a heck of a start. We’re burning through some salt,” said Mike Gladbach, who is Sandy’s Public Works Director.

No matter how much salt it takes, Gladbach says he’s proud of the job his team does whenever it snows to keep people safe.

“They will do a 16-hour shift and they’ll come back with a smile on their face,” he said. “They take pride in their job.

However, the job Sandy’s public works crew did earlier this month brought a smile to Gladbach’s face that not even the biggest snow play could clear.

“How could you not be proud of them? Especially after what they did,” Gladbach said.

One of Sandy’s plow drivers was clearing snow after another storm when he got into Margo Bathelt’s neighborhood.

She has lived in her Sandy home for more than 40 years. The purple mailbox in front of her home had been there almost as long.

“My husband made it. He was a boilermaker and worked with metal,” said Bathelt. “A drunk driver took out the first one we had when we first moved in, so he made that one.”

That mailbox became priceless when her husband died 17 years ago.

“Oh yeah. Everything that he’s done here,” she said while looking at her mailbox. “There is nothing shaped like that, and it’s got the little flag that you put up.”

So, when a Sandy snowplow recently knocked down her mailbox, she knew it was not the kind you can just replace with a new one from a store.

“I told my husband now, I said if that’s a different mailbox, every time I look at it, I am going to cry,” Bathelt said.

She called Sandy City and explained how special that mailbox was.

The same day, public works workers picked it up and got to work.

“I heard that her husband had built it years ago, and it needed to be the same color and everything, so I just ran with it and put it back together,” said Tyler Timothy, a mechanic with Sandy Public Works.

It took them about a week in their shop, but when workers were done with the mailbox, it looked just about the same as it did before.

“We try to take care of the residents and it is absolutely our fault if something happens,” said Robert Hart, a member of the street maintenance team.

When workers brought it back to Bathelt’s house and posted it into the ground where it used to be, she couldn’t believe it.

“The fellow told me that is a brand-new pipe they put on and painted it,” she said. “The people were so kind and so nice.”

She’s hoping it lasts another 40 years.

“They did a great job,” said Bathelt. “They went over and above.”

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Snowplow driver makes amends after hitting sentimental mailbox