Ed. Note: Thanks to reader and resident Agnes McGlone Swanson for submitting this story.
Van Singletary, also known as “Van theMailman,” has become a celebrity in his own right in the community of Rancho Niguel and each year neighbors even hold up signs along the parade route in support of their “famous” mail carrier as he marches down Crown Valley. This year about 50 residents were grouped together on the sidelines to give Singletary a shout of support. Residents say he is a great asset to their neighborhood and think of him as a “part of the family.”
“Marching in the Laguna Niguel Holiday Parade allows me to give back to the community that has given so much to me and my family over the years…love,” said Van. “The amazement of the young faces seeing me march in the parade is rewarding. Then, within an hour or so, I am at their doorstep delivering their mail…it is priceless.”
Postal Service employees volunteer their time if they choose to march in the parade, and they have to complete their regular route when the parade is finished.
Singletary has worked for the United States Postal Service for 23 years, all in the neighborhood of Rancho Niguel.
“Van, will always be a fond memory of mine when I think of my neighborhood growing up. He has always been thought of by my family as a neighbor, and he has been there since I moved into the community when I was a toddler. I remember whether we were out on the street playing hide-n-seek, riding bikes, or rollerblading; there was always a smile, a hello, and a sincere inquiry on how life was going from Van. He is the mailman that every block wishes they had,” said Nicole Gilchrist.
“When ‘Van the Mailman’ comes by it's liking stepping back in time, like stepping into a Norman Rockwell painting, where the world is peaceful and bright. Van puts the joy in joyful, he puts the cheer in cheerful, and puts the word friend in friendship! Van is a special
person who does a very special job for all of us!,” shared resident Joseph
Singletary recently accepted a second job with the city of Laguna Niguel doing park patrols on the weekends.
“The job fits right in with what I do for the Postal Service, interacting with the community," said Singletary.
“Van is not just our postman, he is our friend,” said Julie Locke.
“Van is one of the great reasons to live in Laguna Niguel,” said Courtney Fielder.
“Van is the BEST mail carrier ever! “said Marjorie Savage. “Van consistently goes above and beyond as our mailman. He anticipates our needs when we go on vacation, he sometimes takes a few minutes to chat about the local high school sports games, and he even watches out for suspicious activity in the neighborhood because he truly cares,” said Richard Swanson.
“I look forward to seeing Van–seeing his great warm smile and enjoying some friendly conversation. He is always smiling, always takes the time to say hello and ask how you’re doing. Occasionally, we’ll chat and try to solve some of the world’s problems. I remember when our old next door neighbor sold the house and moved out…I don’t think she was too upset about leaving the neighborhood, but she actually shed tears when she told me how much she was going to miss Van,” said resident Sandy Walden.
Longtime customer Luanne Sprong said, “Van has been a bright asset to our neighborhood. We always look forward to not only getting the mail but the opportunity to say hi to our friend Van, and he is never too busy to take the time to share a moment in his busy day.”
“Van always goes the extra mile and hand delivers your mail he thinks is important or would not be weather appropriate to leave in the mailbox. He
always says hello. He is just an all around considerate nice person, we are fortunate to have as our mailman. We miss him on his days off, too,” said
When asked about his career highlights Singletary said, “One of my most memorable moments in my career was related to the parade. Some years ago, I missed marching in the parade because of a family commitment. A few of my 'fans' had made signs for me and I was not there. The look on their faces when I saw them afterwards…I could not bare it. I have not missed a parade since.”