Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Christmas Eve To Remember

Every year my sisters and I cut it pretty close to the wire when it comes to shipping gifts. Usually we opt for priority mail and pray they get there in the three days, even though it isn't guaranteed.

A few years ago, the weather was particularly bad, and we waited (as usual) to ship until December 22. The person at the post office reminded us the package would likely not arrive until after Christmas, but it was out of our budget to ship it overnight (which at the time couldn't be guaranteed either because of the bad weather back east). We sent the package on its way and decided to tell Dad on Christmas that the package would arrive that week. It wasn't the best situation, but it would have to do.

Christmas Eve was on a Sunday that year. The small town post office where my Dad's PO box was was closed until the day after Christmas. But a wonderful employee was in sorting mail on that Sunday morning and he saw my Dad's package. He saw it was addressed to "Dad" and felt like he would want it for Christmas. So he looked up the phone number for his mail box and called him to say he had a package and he could pick it up that day.

I know it might not seem like a big thing to some, but getting that call meant a lot to my dad. He doesn't live close to any of his family, and the Christmas package was his connection to us. The postal employee had no obligation to do what he did, and actually, he probably wasn't supposed to do it. But it made a huge difference to our family. When I heard the story I cried because I couldn't believe the package had made it all the way from Modesto, CA to a small town in Eastern Tennessee in two days despite the freezing weather and blizzards that were sweeping the nation and grounding flights everywhere. I cried because this man had zero obligation to do what he did, and he did it anyway, just because he had Christmas spirit. I cried because I was lame and didn't make sure his package went out before December 22 and if it wasn't for this wonderful man, my Dad wouldn't have had our gifts on Christmas.

I know not all packages get delivered on time (hopefully, they will get there on time again this year, fingers crossed), but that year, one man made a difference for our family and I will be grateful to the good ol' USPS for many years to come.

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