The first person I encountered today was Tony, our mail carrier. Tony has been delivering my mail for twenty-plus years, and he is a model of what someone in the service sector should be.

Tony is thoughtful and conscientious and kind. Whenever his head bobs past my kitchen window, the Andy of Mayberry theme starts whistling in my head. They just don’t make ’em like Tony anymore. He knows everyone’s names, welcomes us back from vacation, and lets us know when a box has been on a neighbor’s porch for more than a day. He always points out when someone has my address wrong, but still delivers the misaddressed mail. He once alerted me when my next door neighbor’s cat had escaped and was meowing to get back inside the house.

Four years ago, the Postal Service fired Tony, ostensibly for “performance issues,” but we had our doubts. Was it a coincidence that he was approaching the date that his full retirement benefits would kick in? I called the local letter carrier’s union and found out this sort of thing had happened before.

The new carriers were surly and uncommunicative, tromped on my flowers, and often mis-delivered the mail — which wasn’t surprising given that they were constantly talking on their cell phones and not paying attention to their jobs.

After a letter-writing campaign to the local paper, a petition drive outside the grocery co-op, and several neighbors testifying at his hearing with the threat of picketing the Post Office, we were able to get Tony reinstated with his full benefits.

Every day I see Tony coming up the sidewalk, I smile. I love a happy ending.

Thanks for the Daily Writing Prompt, WordPress Gods: “Write about the first person you encountered today.”

Who made you smile today?

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