September 4, 1999

Glenda the Mailwoman

Filed under: Atlanta,Life Stories,Media — schroder @ 12:00 pm

Last month I prepared for my annual two-week vacation with my kids. As always, I wrote a note to my friend Glenda and left it in my mailbox. Glenda is my postal delivery person. The day I left, I opened my mailbox and pulled out a nice note from Glenda. She confirmed the dates she would re-deliver the mail and told me to have a great vacation, and punctuated it with her trademark signature and happy face.

These days I love the post office, but it wasn’t always that way.

When I first met the previous owners of my house seven years ago, they walked me around the yard explaining all the quirky things about the place. One of the more endearing aspects was their relationship with their mailman. There was no mailbox at the house, so most days, he would walk up the 39 steps of the driveway and leave the mail on top of an old milk jug, carefully placing a sea shell on top of it so it wouldn’t blow away. If it looked like rain, he would continue up the remaining 13 steps and slip the mail inside the screen porch.

I moved in the house on a Monday and happily walked up my driveway and stopped at the milk jug: no mail. I continued up to the screen porch and discovered a letter from my postman hanging from my door knob. It said he was invoking a post office regulation requiring the installation of a street-side mailbox.

Figuring I had a grace period, I came home the next day expecting to see a pile of mail. There was none. I called the post office, but they offered no help. After 10 days of no mail, I gave in and erected a mailbox. There was still no mail. I was furious. I had to sign a form to release all the mail.

To get back at my postman, I often parked directly in front of my mailbox so he would have to get out of his truck to drop the mail in. Pay backs are hell.

A couple of years later, I started this company. I keep close tabs on the delivery of our newspapers. I’ve monitored when my papers arrive at the local post office and then called a network of neighbors to track the wave of delivery. I’ve driven around the neighborhood, flagged down a postman and asked why he hadn’t delivered my papers yet when his associates had done so days earlier.

Then the post office assigned Glenda to my route. I detected the difference immediately. She delivered my paper early and wrote a note alerting me that she was delivering my papers to her route that day and including a schedule of when her associates would finish delivering theirs. Some days, I might only get one magazine or an advertising flier in my mailbox. But Glenda will spruce it up, writing “No bills today!” on my label. She always includes a happy face.

Sometimes when our printing schedule results in a late delivery to the post office, I would take boxes of doughnuts to the local distribution facility for the postal workers’ 9 a.m. break. (No, it wasn’t a bribe – there is a postal regulation against that.) I would include a letter thanking the nice delivery people for their outstanding work. Glenda will write a thank-you note the next day.

I always wave when I see Glenda making the rounds in the neighborhood. She has a wonderful smile and a happy thought to share. She says she enjoys reading our newspaper. I hope she reads this page. Thanks, Glenda (and all your fellow postal professionals), for all you do.

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