As a new letter carrier on the job for about three months in 1990, I was told you can expect to work every holiday no matter what. So when it was December 24th and I had returned to the station in Lima, Ohio, after running my assigned route in eight inch deep snow, I was informed that needed to run Express Mail that had arrived late on this day.
When I made the call to my wife, she and my family were gathered with others waiting for me to come home so we could celebrate Christmas. I could hear the disappointment in her voice but she understood because this was my job.
At that time, Lima served as a hub that delivered Express Mail to a number of counties and of course, being low on the seniority roster, I was given the farthest reaching destinations to deliver. When I left the station, the snow had increased intensely and was blowing up drifts that the plows could not keep up with.
The very last article I had to deliver was a single rose that someone had sent from Florida to a rural address about 73 miles away. When I had turned down the last road after getting directions from two different sources, I was stopped by the local Sheriff and asked where I was going. When I gave the name and address, he said don’t bother, the road is blocked with snow and they are in Florida as well.
It was a very long and said ride back home in that cold LLV for I had driven well over 150 miles round trip for what seemed like nothing, missed our Christmas celebration and felt I had let everyone down. As I left the Post Office that night, I was exhausted by the 15 hour day I had just endured. All I watned to do was just go home.
So when I pulled down the street to come home, something didn’t seem right. In fact, the whole neighborhood was bright with porch lights lit and the brightest was… my home.
When I walked through the door, my entire family, Mother and Father were all thre waiting for my return so we could all celebrate Christmas at midnight. And to help light the way home, my family had asked all of our neighbors to be sure to keep their lights on knowing I was out there, doing my job no matter the cost, no matter the loss.
It did matter, and was worth every tireless effort that was made that day.
That is what still drives me today to give that same service to each and every customer, every day.
Lest we forget.