WASHINGTON, D.C—After nearly 155 years, the U.S Postal Service (USPS) announced today that it is officially resurrecting its long-dead Pony Express mail service for a new generation. This time, the USPS promises, mail delivery by pony will be “freaky fast”.

That’s because the Postal Service has decided to make one major change in the operation of its 21st century Pony Express II: instead of cowboys, they’ll be employing the ever-speedy delivery men and women of the Jimmy John’s gourmet sandwich shop chain.

A Jimmy John's Pony Express rider gallops off to begin his leg. (flickr.com/jerseygal2009)

A Jimmy John’s Pony Express rider gallops off toward his next stop. (flickr.com/jerseygal2009)


“Bringing back the Pony Express has always been a priority for the United States Postal Service,” said John Wayne, a spokesman for the department. “It’s not just a beloved American tradition, it’s also an effective delivery tool for the USPS in some of the more rugged and remote areas of the country. And especially in this day and age of mass online shopping and drone delivery, people are just looking for some kind of return to normalcy.”

The decision to partner with Jimmy John’s, Wayne says, was a natural fit for the USPS, given both organizations’ steadfast dedication to the timely and efficient delivery of letters, packages, and premium cold cut sandwiches. Wayne says the tipping point for the department was a new, viral video which shows a Jimmy John’s employee grabbing his delivery bike and proceeding to scale a moving train, just to ensure that his Ultimate Porker® hoagie would arrive on time to its awaiting customer.


“When we saw that, we just knew that the Jimmy John’s team understood what the Pony Express was all about,” says Wayne. “Our riders don’t expect days off for things like arrow wounds, or partial scalping, or Typhus, so they sure as hell wouldn’t let a little thing like a slow-moving train impede their delivery. For us, the partnership with Jimmy John’s felt like a totally natural and organic next step for the USPS.”

“Having our employees participate in this venture makes us feel like we’re a part of something bigger. It feels like something that’s really, truly all-American.” -Jimmy Johnson, CEO

Jimmy John’s CEO, Jimmy Johnson, says he was initially skeptical about the idea. But, as a history buff, himself, Johnson says he was willing to hear the USPS out. “We all sat down at the table—ordered some subs, of course—and then we got right down to it. They had a lot of inspiring things to say and, in the end, the transition for our team during the pilot phase of the Pony Express II program has been pretty smooth. Having our employees participate in this venture makes us feel like we’re a part of something bigger. It feels like something that’s really, truly all-American.”

As first-time or beginner riders, Jimmy John’s delivery personnel starts with an immersive, four-week training course in which they learn to groom, tack up, and ride their ponies. Once they’ve passed a basic certification test and have sworn their Pony Express II oath (see below), they’re entered into the Pony Express rotation: a regular four-day schedule delivering subs for Jimmy John’s, and one rotating day a week working a nearby leg of the Pony Express. “I think our staff is truly enjoying mixing up their bike deliveries with a chance to be out, riding ponies and enjoying the countryside. The whole experience has actually been terrific for company morale,” Johnson says.

The Pony Express II oath:

“I, ____, do hereby swear, before the Great and Living God, that during my engagement, and while I am an employee of the USPS and Jimmy John’s Sandwiches, I will, under no circumstances, use profane language, that I will drink no intoxicating liquors or overly sugary energy drinks, that I will not quarrel or fight with any other employee of the firm, including by passive aggressive email or text message, and that in every respect I will conduct myself honestly, be faithful to my duties, and so direct all my acts as to win the confidence of my employers, so help me God.”

(Frederic Remington [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Scenes from the original Pony Express. (Frederic Remington [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Though the USPS is only offering Pony Express delivery on a limited basis in select states around the country, the organization soon hopes to expand their offerings from coast to coast. So far, at least among their consumer base, it seems the far-fetched gamble is paying off.

“I couldn’t believe it when that nice young man came flying up to my back porch on an appaloosa pony,” says Mary Cody of St. Joseph, Missouri. “I offered him some lemonade and a drink for his horse, but he said, ‘No, thanks, ma’am, I’ve got to get going to my next stop down the road.’ Clearly he was very responsible. And that letter I was expecting from my sister in Duluth arrived practically overnight! It really was freaky fast.”