Still delivering [UPDATED]Published 10:46am Wednesday, August 15, 2012 Updated 10:46am Wednesday, August 15, 2012
A joy for working and a positive attitude is what keeps Harold Bye going to work five days a week even as he approaches 90 years old.
Bye’s wife, Gladys, began driving the south route for The Daily Journal in 1982, and Bye took over for her about five years ago in 2007. Monday through Friday, he loads up his 1990 Dodge Omni with newspapers at about 11:30 a.m. and drives his usual route to Wendell, Elbow Lake, Ashby and Dalton, where he drops off newspapers to dealerships, racks, post offices and paper carriers.
Bye will turn 90 on Jan. 30, and he has no intention of quitting any time soon.
“I’ll keep doing it until I can’t do it anymore,” he said. “I like to have something to do, and I like to drive.”
Bye’s daily route is about 80 miles, and over time, the numbers can really add up. His wife’s 1985 Dodge Omni went 315,000 miles before its life ran out.
The Dodge Omni has been a lucky car for the Byes as they have driven hundreds of thousands of miles without any major incidents.
“Driving doesn’t bother me even in the winter when the roads are bad,” he said. “I worry more about other drivers. It’s so important to watch your speed. That’s one of the reasons I’ve gone this long without hitting a deer.”
The Daily Journal has always been a part of Bye’s life. From as far back as he can remember, his parents subscribed to the newspaper.
“One of the things I remember the paper had when I was growing up was a reporter from every township in the county,” he said. “They would write really interesting articles.”
Before he became a driver for The Daily Journal, Bye was a dairy farmer. He still lives on the farm in the house he grew up in. While much of the house has been redone, some of the walls that were built in the 1800s are still standing.
Bye will soon have all three of his children living within a mile of the house in which they all grew up. His son plans to retire soon and move back into the house with Bye, and his other two children live just down the road.
“A lot of people ask me, ‘What’s your secret to being so healthy and active?’ I tell them it’s all about attitude,” Bye said. “I’ve always had a good attitude, and I’ve always enjoyed working.”