By Ed Brock
Jane Chambers does not resemble the classic image of a newspaper carrier.
She's not a young boy on a bicycle cruising down suburban lanes on a Norman Rockwell morning hurling papers onto porches with stunning accuracy.
What she is is a mother who works from 1 to 4 a.m. because she likes being able to spend more time with her 11-year-old daughter Ashley.
"I'm always there for her," Chambers said. "Right now my child is more important to me."
By that Chambers means Ashley is more important than pursuing a day job in computer accounting in which Chambers has a college degree. She began working with the News Daily 12 years ago while she was still in school.
"I stayed with it because it was convenient, I didn't have to get a babysitter," Chambers said.
Chambers arrives at the News Daily at the beginning of her shift each morning and loads her 1998 Nissan with about 250 papers for her routes in Jonesboro and Stockbridge. It doesn't bother her to be driving alone in the dark hours of the morning.
"I've never felt threatened, especially here in Jonesboro," Chambers said.
The papers go into special tubes on the side of the road for some subscribers or into the driveway.
"When people are old or handicapped I'll pull up and throw it on their porch," Chambers said.
There are challenges along the way, such as The Creature that lurks in a crack beneath one customer's box. Periodically she sees its legs waving out of the crack in an intimidating manner.
"It can't be a spider, it's been there for two years," Chambers said. "I just throw the paper into the driveway."
There are also friends along the route, like Margie Snowden of Jonesboro who is often out walking her dog when Chambers comes around at 2 or 3 a.m.
"We talk about my family and her family and her daughter," said Snowden, adding that she has known Ashley since the girl was born.
Chambers once lived next door to Snowden.
"I couldn't ask for a better friend and you couldn't ask for a better carrier," Snowden said. "I don't know how she smiles all the time. At that time of the morning I'd be a little cranky, but not her."
And when Ashley isn't in school she often accompanies her mother on the route.
"And all my friends like to go with her on the route," Ashley said.
"It's a joy to them but it's a job to me," Chambers said.
It's a job she does with care and concern for her customers, News Daily Circulation Department Office Manager Donna Goodson said.
She notices when the papers start building up in front of a customer's house and gets upset when a customer dies.
"She went to Florida for vacation this year," Goodson said. "She called to make sure everything was OK. She's the only carrier who's called while on vacation."
As for her opinion of the product she carries, Chambers said she reads the News Daily occasionally.
"It depends on what's in the headlines," Chambers said.
Chambers is one of 22 hardworking carriers delivering for the News Daily. Saturday is National Newspaper Carrier Day, part of National Newspaper Week.