There’s Often More to the Story



Never in my life had I received anything like this in the mail. Confused, I opened the clear package and removed the contents…a lone shredded front half of an envelope. I could see the return address and the date. The contents were entirely missing, though. I instantly knew it must have been a Christmas card from my sweet Aunt Perky, but I’ll never know what it looked like.

The bag it came in said this:

“Dear Postal Customer,

We sincerely regret the damage to your mail during handling by the Postal Service. We hope this incident did not inconvenience you. We realize that your mail is important to you and that you have every right to expect it to be delivered in good condition.

Although every effort is made to prevent damage to the mail, occasionally this will occur because of the great volume handled and the rapid processing methods which must be employed to assure the most expeditious distribution possible. 

We hope you understand. We assure you that we are constantly striving to improve our processing methods in order that even a rare occurrence may be eliminated. 

Please accept our apologies.


Your Postmaster”

I couldn’t even! My temper flared, and not because of my missing card. Because, you see, I have a family member who works as a mail carrier for the post office and another friend whose husband has also been toiling long hours carrying mail the last several weeks. To say the post office cares about getting my mail to me in one piece is likely true, but these poor individuals do not feel cared for. The office in our area is short-handed and all kinds of craziness has been going on. Some mail carriers are getting home at 8:00 or 9:00 at night. A few have gotten frostbite. Many are not getting their days off and are working overtime when they don’t want to and others do. The whole scenario is tragic, really, and there seems to be no end in sight. Postal workers and their families are suffering. Kids don’t get to eat dinner with their parents who are working late. These poor men and women sleep on Sundays all day out of sheer exhaustion and find themselves sick a lot.

This scenario was a good reminder to me. I don’t stop to think about the hard work that many individuals put in on a daily basis to make my life easier. Trash men maneuvering icy conditions to haul away our family’s waste, families who don’t see a mom or dad for a couple of days because he/she is out clearing the roads so the rest of us can get to our destinations, soldiers separated from their families months at a time, and those postal workers who end up with aches, pains, and illness so we can get our mail. Yes, I know they chose these jobs, but I don’t stop often enough to be grateful.

We also know someone who works for the street department, and he told me about all of the hateful calls they receive after a snow– people not satisfied with the conditions of the roads. If we could all just walk in the shoes of these maintenance people for a day, I think our perspective might change.

The older I get, the more I realize there is always more to the story. The mess that is so often quickly visible to my eye has a back story. One that might involve sweat, effort and even tears.

Take a moment to tell one of these individuals thank you. Leave a special treat in your mailbox, something next to the trash can, or send a soldier you know a note (or one to his/her spouse left behind). Stop to think about those things we all too easily take for granted. Make a statement that says, “We care,” but really mean it!


16 thoughts on “There’s Often More to the Story

  1. I work for the USPS and just by chance, I fill those little apology envelopes! Christmas is a horrible time of year for me. I wish there was a way to communicate to people how to protect their “Season’s Greetings”. First of all, dollar store cards made in China seem to have brittle paper and they literally explode in the machines. People should not enclose several pictures or several gift cards in an envelope without securing the envelope or using a padded envelope. Please put an address label on the pictures or gift cards just in case. Little pieces of candy or trinkets will cause further shredding. Also, signing a card “Love, Mom” doesn’t help us put an envelope with a card. Putting the name of the recipient on the inside of the card is so helpful. I hate having to send on a shredded, empty envelope!

    • Amen Ms. Ellen. I also work for the. USPS as a carrier. We also feel awful delivering an empty envelope, whether it was a gift or any type of content. In order for the machines to run on a timely basis, there will be mishaps. We alldo our best to ensure the best quality of service. If I don’t get to see that customer, that baggie is my apology.Because we (carriers) are the last link to the customer.

      • This experience opened my eyes to something I take for granted. The postal carriers I know take their jobs ver seriously. Thank you for what you do to deliver people’s treasures.

  2. I also am a mail carrier, and it is incredibly rare to find a customer that has even the slightest clue what we go through. Many treat us as their personal servants without the slightest thought to how much pain we are in stretching for their improper mailbox or the carpal tunnel and tendonitis so many of us develop because of the job. It is beautiful to see this letter from a woman that stops long enough to see past her own nose. God Bless her. ❤

  3. I shared this with several people who I work with at USPS. We all love our jobs and it’s nice to hear this from time to time. 🙂

    Thank you again.

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