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Back on the job
Downtown Turlock postman returns to work after eye injury
Juan Pulido
Downtown Turlock postman returns to work after eye injury (KRISTINA HACKER/The Journal).

While many are enjoying a three-day weekend in celebration of Labor Day, one Turlock postman is thankful that he was able to get back to work this week following a tragic accident.

Juan Pulido has been delivering mail to downtown Turlock businesses and residents for about seven years. He has become a beloved member of the downtown community, as he always has a smile and a joke to share, along with his mail deliveries.

His jolly demeaner was missed over the past two months, however, as he has been recovering from a power tool accident that caused him to lose sight in one eye.

Pulido was working on his outdoor barbecue island on July 5 when the blade on his grinder broke and sliced into his right eyeball. The Ceres resident was Medi-Flighted to UC Davis Medical Center, where he was treated, but doctors were unable to save his sight.

Pulido said he is thankful that the accident only claimed his right eye and nothing else was damaged, as he was not wearing protective eye wear and there wasn’t a shield on his grinder.

“I watch videos all the time and didn’t follow the first lesson in safety,” he said. “It could have been a lot worse.”

When the accident happened, he was working alone in the back yard. Pulido said he went into the house and yelled that he lost his eye. His teenaged daughter, who was used to her dad and his jovial personality, thought he was joking at first. Once she saw he was actually injured, she called for an ambulance.

Pulido is mostly healed up now. He has stitches in his injured eye and wears sunglasses most of the time while he waits to get fitted for an eye prosthetic.

The response of the community to hearing of his accident has been “overwhelming” Pulido said.

“The whole downtown community has been great. I’m still trying to make people laugh and everyone is just giving me love. I don’t know how to react, it’s a good feeling,” he said.

From calls and texts to letters he received from customers who sought out his home address, Pulido said he didn’t realize the impact he had doing his day-to-day job.

While life has gotten almost back to normal for Pulido, he still has trouble with perception like walking down stairs. He said the more he doesn’t think about his sight loss, the less it impacts his daily activities.

He has, however, decided to hang up his power tools for good.

“There are some benefits, my wife hasn’t given me a honey-do list in quite a while,” he said with a laugh.