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Hot on the heels of Hot Wheels

This mail handler uses his free time to acquire miniature vehicles

A man stands in front of a display of miniature toy vehicles
Dan Hammond, a Winchester, VA, mail handler, stands near his collection of Hot Wheels and other miniature vehicles.

My name is Dan Hammond and I’m a mail handler in Winchester, VA.

After the workday is over — I’m on the 3 to 11:30 a.m. shift — I work on my Hot Wheels collection. I stop at the Target and Walmart on the east side of town, then the ones on the west side of town, to see what’s new.

Right now, I have a little over 10,000 cars. My favorite is a Hot Wheels Camaro that’s 6 feet high — it’s as big as me — and used to be displayed above the Hot Wheels collection in a local Toys R Us. It was kind of my holy grail.

Early on, people were always looking to me for information on how and where to find new stuff. This was before the internet. Someone said that instead of me telling everyone individually, we should have meetings. So that’s how the Winchester-Shenandoah Valley Hot Wheels Club got started.

Then I began a newsletter that published once a month, about 10 pages long. I had subscribers from all over the world. Again, this was before the internet. I took those newsletters and rewrote them in article form for Die Cast Digest, a magazine for model car enthusiasts. The column was called “Wheels Are Spinning.”

I gave up on the newsletter because Facebook came along and I could post daily, live. Now, if I find something, I put it on my personal page or the club’s page.

I have about 50 miniature mail trucks and cars in my collection. There are Jeeps, LLVs, cargo vans and a tractor-trailer.

I devote about two hours a day to my collection, but never on weekends. My wife, Mia, makes sure I don’t touch anything collection-wise on the weekend. On the weekend, I’m hers.

“Off the Clock,” a column on Postal Service employees and their after-hours pursuits, appears regularly in Link.