One of the original Nanaimo News Bulletin newspaper carriers has decided to hang ’em up.
Nils Haugland, 71, was born in Norway and moved to Nanaimo when he was six years old. He had his first paper route when he was 13 and has delivered the News Bulletin for 33 years, beginning in the summer of 1988, he estimates. Haugland stepped down due to health reasons and said he was always treated well by customers.
“It was nice making a little bit of money, especially near rainy season,” said Haugland. “Customers were really nice.”
Among the residents Haugland delivered papers to was Gary O’Brien, who says Haugland is a “very dear friend” whom he has known for 15 years. Everyone in the neighbourhood loved Haugland, said O’Brien, who even paid him for yard work.
“I quickly decided that Nils would be my lawn mower, so as he started [getting older], I worked out a deal with him. Nils would come over with his lawn mower and I said, ‘Nils. You’re going to sit down here … I’m going to mow the lawn, but I’m going to pay you,’” said O’Brien. “He smiled and goes, ‘That’s a deal.’”
In an e-mail, Linda DeFehr, Haugland’s sister, said he took great pride in delivering the paper to all of his 200 customers, something O’Brien said he will miss.
”He has a photographic memory,” O’Brien said. “He takes me through the history of Nanaimo and I get a lot from him. I get more from him than I think he gets from me. I like his fellowship. He’s a warm man and he’s lived a good, honest life.”
Haugland said he will miss his customers as well.
“They’re really nice people … several of them give me a tip the odd time,” Haugland said.