In Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in southwest China's Sichuan Province, Jigme Dorje, a long-distance postal route driver, has risked his life for 30 years. He traverses this snowy postal route that averages an elevation of more than 3,500 meters above sea level and is responsible for transporting mail from inland China into southwest China's Tibet. He has been called a hero messenger on the Sichuan-Tibet route.
In 1989, Jigme Dorje was selected by Garze County as their sole postal driver because he was a good driver and also a car mechanic, and he began to run this high-altitude, most dangerous postal route. The elevation of the route climbs from 2,500 meters to 5,000 meters, and it also crosses the highest mountain pass in Sichuan, the narrow Queer Mountain Pass. The narrowest part of the pass is less than four meters across, and on one side of the road is hanging gravel; the other side is an abyss.
The risk factor here is high. Drivers must not only be skilled, they need to be able to stand the difficult climate of the plateau, which many people cannot. Jigme Dorje must travel back and forth on this route more than 20 times per month. In the winter, snow sometimes closes the mountain pass, and getting trapped is a common occurrence.
Jigme Dorje’s own safety has been tested in addition to difficult conditions along the route. In September 2012, in an encounter with a robber, Jigme Dorje was stabbed 17 times, broke four ribs, and hurt his skull. After a year of painful treatment and rehabilitation, he returned to his post and started to drive the postal truck again.
Over the last 30 years, Jigme Dorje has rarely spent the New Year at home, and each time he goes out, his family worries.
But to Jigme Dorje, every letter and every package he delivers seems to bring happiness to people.
During these 30 years, Jigme Dorje has traveled more than 1.4 million kilometers on this route, which is equivalent to 35 laps around the Earth’s equator. He has never been liable for any accident, and he has successfully completed every postal mission.