They’re definitely not a dime a dozen — paperboys, that is. In fact, The Missourian may be the last publishing company in the state that still has paperboys on the street selling newspapers in front of its offices.
Every Tuesday and Friday evening folks anxious for local news line up on Main Street to buy their Missourians. Brady Frost, the Tuesday paperboy, might not know his customers’ names, but he recognizes their faces and can tell you what vehicle they’ll be driving, and if they’ll have a dog, a friend, or a spouse with them.
You might want to swing by his curb and bid Brady adieu. He’s about to “age out” of his duties as paperboy, a position he’s held for the past four years. Brady is moving up in the newspaper world, which involves moving inside to take on new job responsibilities.
In the interim, he is training his younger brother Eli, 13, the Friday paperboy, to fill his shoes. And Brady has big shoes to fill, literally and figuratively.
Never have I met a more polite young man than Brady, one who willingly opens the door and helps carry packages to my car — books that arrive en masse at The Missourian, from publishers who send novels and nonfiction titles for review.
Brady’s Tuesday shift at The Missourian is from 5 to 8:15 p.m. He always lightens my load when I make book pickups.
Just finishing up his junior year at Washington High School, Brady arrives at The Missourian with his red and black backpack jammed with homework and snacks. He also works at the office on Fridays from 3:30 to 4 p.m. delivering papers to a few downtown businesses, a responsibility his brother Eli will assume once his broken wrist heals.
Brady has his work routine and repertoire down pat, and is more fun to watch than a traffic cop. He tells customers when The Missourian will be ready, and greets them with a smile and “Hi, how are you?” Brady takes his duties seriously.
“You’re the face of the paper,” he said, turning to address yet another driver, “Hello — there we are — need some change? Thanks. Have a good night.”
Brady reports to Distribution Supervisor Harold Hill, who’s impressed with the young man’s work ethic.
“Brady is the most flexible paperboy I’ve ever had work for me,” Harold said. “If I ask him to do something spur of the moment it’s done. Brady has a contagious smile, and he’s a respectful young man to his customers. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him for any job.”
Those with a cynical nature might believe Brady is working for tips, and he is, but even if he didn’t receive a plug nickel, he’d do his best. It’s in this farm boy’s nature.
Nancy Heimann, another Missourian employee, sees Brady in action because she works on Tuesday evenings too. “That boy never says a mean word about anyone,” Nancy said. “He’s very polite, does his job and doesn’t whine.” Brady never has to be urged to go outside and sell papers even when it’s cold and rainy, Nancy added.
Brady gets high marks from customers too, and goodies — hot chocolate when it’s cold, a Blizzard cherry limeade when it’s hot. Nancy laughed and said she gets the castoffs Brady doesn’t like, dark chocolate candy bars and cookies with raisins. But never the sugar cookies one nice lady bakes, those are the best, Brady said, and Kit-Kats.
Of course the monetary perks are great too. Hardly anyone asks for change when they give him a dollar and once he got $10. At Christmas he gets an extra dollar or two, and a gift card was a high point in his young career.
Brady has matured in his job at The Missourian. He’s learned to deal with the “tip thing,” a nicety that used to make him “nervous.” He knows how to make change if a customer buys multiple copies of The Missourian, and has made peace with a lapdog that used to bark at him like crazy.
Brady’s realized you can’t be a clock-watcher and that to get respect you have to give respect. He’s learned the value of money and has grown in confidence and people skills. Brady used to be shy and stutter when he started as a paperboy at 13. “But now I hardly stutter at all,” he said.
It seems a lot of doors have opened for Brady in his stint as a paperboy, many more than he’s politely opened for me.