Going out in style
Published 8:34 am Monday, November 30, 2015
Randy Carrier has been working for the U.S. Postal Service since Feb. 1, 1986. On Wednesday, he retired. And he decided to do it in style.
To celebrate this special occasion, Carrier decided to make his last deliveries in a very special vehicle — his 1969 Silver Shadow Rolls Royce.
Needless to say, he got a lot of attention. People along his route, Rural Route 9, took photos and offered to ride along.
And although Carrier has had the car for almost 15 years, very few people knew he had it. After all, he never set out to by such a car; he just “stumbled on it.”
“I found it in January, on Martin Luther King Day,” Carrier said. “I got in my Ford Escort and headed up to the Wytheville (Va.) antique malls and stopped in Marion.”
That quick stop in Marion, at a local antique shop, and a chance conversation led him to the vehicle.
“I was talking to the guy there in Marion and he told me he had this British car, a Vanden Plas Princess. It was out back, so we went to look at it,” Carrier said.
“When the man raised the hood, I noticed the car had Rolls Royce motor in it and I commented that had always been my favorite car, especially the Silver Shadow model.”
“That’s when he said, ‘Well, I know where there’s one for sale. It’s in Chilhowee.’”
Intrigued, Carrier drove by the address where he was told the car would be. Sure enough, there it was on the carport.
However, Carrier was hesitant to just drop in; he went on with his day and called about it soon after that.
“They said, ‘yes, we have the car and they told me what they wanted for it. But, he added, they were having trouble with it. They couldn’t get it started.”
“I was interested,” he said. “But I told them I wouldn’t buy a pig in a poke, and asked them to call me when they could get it started.”
The family called Carrier the first week of March 2001 and they made a deal.
“It had belonged to the man who ran the Mt. Rogers Inn,” he said.
His name was Ova Sturgill and he had died. I brought it from his son, Dickie.”
Carrier brought the car home and soon afterward, a lady who worked with him at the post office was going to retire.
“I offered to pick her up and drive her to work on her last day,” he said. “That’s where I got the idea to drive it on my last day of work.”
Delivering the mail that last day to residents in the Biltmore area, Minton Hollow, Rocky Branch and the surrounding area, was very special, Carrier said. But, he is looking forward to his retirement.
“After almost 30 years, and 5,755 trips, I get to rest,” Carrier said. “This is one holiday season that I might actually enjoy.”