Garland D. Lewis Sr. served in the US Navy during the Vietnam War. After finishing two tours of service and receiving two honorable discharges, he joined the US Postal Service, on May 3, 1980, beginning a 33-year career. His memoir, The Truth Behind Going Postal: Surviving the Torture in the United States Postal Service, chronicles his many struggles within the organization.
As a young veteran returning from the war in Vietnam, Garland brought his aspirations for a better life and his personal sense of character and integrity to his first position at the United States Postal Service in Denver, Colorado in May 1980, beginning what would become a 33-year career. But Garland’s plan was undermined by the realities of the institutional dysfunctions and unusual stress of the U.S. Postal Service work environment. His career path took him through a maze of harsh retributions, intimidation, fear and threats – but Garland has an abiding belief in justice, so he fought back. In the end he needed a civil attorney, a team of criminal attorneys, a bail bondsman, an employment specialist, the Postal Workers Union, marriage counseling, group therapy, Alcoholics Anonymous and his buddies at the gym to maintain his job and well-being.
Garland also came to understand why the idea of “Going Postal” has become a syndrome associated with the U.S. Postal Service and is more than just a cliché. At a time when mass shootings are on the increase, Garland’s remarkable story shines a light on our society as a whole – with all its pressures, social conflicts and emotional landmines – and is relevant to the myriad of questions that arise when so many people seem to be “going postal.”
Garland has been married for more than thirty years. He and his wife have two children and four grandchildren. He lives in Colorado and is an active member of several veterans’ service organizations. He retired from the USPS in 2013.
I recently interviewed Mr. Lewis where he chatted on his book and experience working with USPS.
Listen to the interview below: