Returned to senders! Mailman is back at Cadman Towers

Beloved Cadman Plaza mailman Santos Caraballos returned on Saturday to the building he has served for decades, thanks to some pressure on the Postal Service from elected officials and, of course, The Brooklyn Paper.
The Brooklyn Paper / Andy Campbell

Hundreds of residents of a Brooklyn Heights apartment tower hailed the return of their beloved letter carrier, four months after their building had been removed from his route amid supposed budget shortfalls.

On Saturday, mailman Santos Caraballos was no longer stayed from the swift completion of his appointed rounds, thanks to a bit of luck and a decision by the United States Postal Service to return him to Cadman Towers, where he had worked (and garnered fans) for 21 years.

“Four months was like four years,” said one resident of the towers who complained that Caraballos’s replacement never could get it right.

“Never getting my mail was hell!” she said, hugging the returning hero. “Plus, he’s just a phenomenal guy.”

But before you go writing a thank you note to your congressman or the postmaster general, Caraballos’s return only happened because the route that now includes Cadman Towers became open this month — not because someone intervened to put Cadman Towers back in Caraballos’s route.

In the end, he engineered his return himself, applying for the route this month.

Of course, the dozens who greeted Caraballos with high-fives and signs that read, “Welcome back, Santos!” didn’t care how they got their man back.

“He really is the last vestige of community in this city,” said Toba Potosky, the board president. “He was there for my marriage, my grandparents’ anniversary, and he was there for me when they passed away. He’s touched everyone’s lives here.”

For his part, the humble Caraballos said he was no disgruntled postal worker, even though the bureaucrats had left him without his favorite stop.

“It’s good to be back,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it when people rallied behind me. It’s a happy time.”

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