Crying customers farewell much-loved Albury post office worker Chris Brown, retiring after 20 years

When Chris Brown first started at Australia Post on Dean Street, she made a promise to never be a grumpy face greeting customers at the pick-up hatch.

Twenty years on, she can hang up her boots knowing she did herself proud on that pledge.

The friendly manager was overwhelmed with gifts and distraught customers saying their goodbyes on Wednesday, her final day.

“You build quite a rapport after 20 years and some I’ve watched come in as 17-year-olds and come back with babies,” she said.

“I worked behind that grey roller-door for all that time and when you lift it up to serve, I think there would be nothing worse than saying hello to an old grumpy bum.

“I swore that would never happen.”

It’s not the easiest thing to do when you’ve been up since 4am, and Ms Brown doesn’t quite know how she managed it for all that time.

“I really have done it ever since; which amazed me,” she said.

“I actually started as a relief worker when somebody was crook and then I progressed to be a manager.

“Back then we did everything by hand and wrote it out in a book – the volume of mail has changed with the internet and technology.

“These days with Facebook, you press the one button and everyone gets the same letter.”

Ms Brown helped her customers through that transition, and they also returned the love and support nearly six years ago when she lost her husband, Mark.

“He was in the army; he was retired by the time he passed away with a heart attack,” she said.

“The customers and staff helped me through that.

“I was going to retire a few years ago, but work became my solace.

“I didn’t want to be home then, but I do now – I’m ready to face my demons there and move on with life, really.”

With six grandchildren, Ms Brown will have plenty to do to keep herself busy, but she’ll no doubt miss the ebb and flow of the Dean Street post office.

“I feel so privileged to be respected and I want to say a huge thank you for their love and appreciation for what I wanted to do – keep that happy face going,” she said.