RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — When Bill Olave's mail truck rolls up Ridgewood's streets, dogs and kids run out of the houses to greet him.
That alone says something about Olave, who has been on the same route for nearly 15 years, and in the neighborhood for almost 30.
But the residents who have come to know and love their mail carrier dearly were saddened to discover last week that his route will be altered come Jan. 18.
"He goes out of his way to get to know the families on the route personally," said Morgan Tully, a local mom in the Willard community.
"He knows everyone's favorite sports teams, their dogs and kids. My kids run outside when they see his truck to get a lollipop."
The change comes due to the elimination of two of the routes, changing the remaining 31 through a computer program, Raoul Bruce E. Ridgewood Avenue Post Officer Supervisor explained.
Carriers do have portions of their own route -- but not the whole thing.
"It’s a whole process," Bruce said. "The carriers bid on new routes (seniority), get a chance to do them physically."
The new routes are also subject to change, as carriers may find that what looks good on paper might not make sense on foot.
Bruce says he has received a number of calls from locals asking not to move Olave.
Members of a Ridgewood Facebook group have started a movement for Olave -- #keepbillsroute or #itsawonderfulroute.
Neighbors expressed frustration, confusion and sadness - one even vowed to sell their house.
"Bill is a legend in our neighborhood to humans and dogs alike," one member posted. "He is a joyful man who passes his positive spirit as he does his job, and does it very well.
"I hope that he can stay for he enhances our neighborhood community while doing a great job."
Bruce was not able to disclose Olave's new route, but noted that changes were minor, and that the beloved carrier will still be in the area.
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