How Burlington Public Works helped save the holidays

Published: Dec. 20, 2019 at 5:36 PM EST
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The holidays are busy for everyone but few have as much to endure as the people working to get all those packages to your door. Sometimes, they get sent to the wrong place. That's what happened Wednesday night. Eight shipping pallets were left after hours at Burlington Public Works on Pine Street.

Our Lance MacKenzie has the story of one city employee who worked to make sure Christmas arrives on time for strangers.

Valerie Ducharme works in customer service with the Burlington Department of Public Works. But Thursday, the service she provided was a bit different.

"There were eight pallets of boxes that were delivered," Ducharme said.

"Amazon mistakenly developed eight pallets of largely holiday gifts to DPW," said Chapin Spencer, the director of Burlington Public Works.

"I called Amazon and was instructed to either throw them away, keep them or donate them to someone," Ducharme said. "I was upset about being told to get rid of them."

"We knew we couldn't do that," Spencer said.

This is where Ducharme's customer service professionalism really kicked into high gear.

"On my own time after work, I started relaying back and forth with the post office," she said.

She coordinated the proper delivery of all those parcels. Twenty-four hours after they were discovered, the U.S. Postal Service picked them up.

"Amazon and the post office couldn't get together. Because we knew the holidays needed to happen and these presents needed to get delivered," Spencer said.

"There was also a lot of little packages. You could actually see the outline of slippers. So somebody was not going to get their slippers," Ducharme said. "I wanted to make sure that they got to where they were supposed to go."

Thanks to Ducharme's persistence, the holiday shipments continued on to their destinations.

"DPW got to play Santa," Spencer said.