It was his last day as a mail carrier before retirement. Little did he know he'd be making his most special delivery yet.
- Posted on Aug 24, 2020
Good Friday was as good a day as any to end my decades on the job as a U.S. mail carrier. I’d been planning every aspect of my retirement for a while now—but finally I’d settled on the specific date.
“Think of all I could have been doing these past few months,” I muttered to myself when I got to work that last morning. “I could have been spending time with my wife, getting things done around the house.” Well, all that would start after today. This weekend I would celebrate Easter and our new life in retirement together.
I headed for my truck. A mechanic flagged me down. “You’ve got a different vehicle today,” he said. “We’re putting your old one up for inspection before giving it to the next carrier.”
Looks like I’ll have to say my goodbyes now, I thought, pausing by the truck I’d driven for years, tracing my route in downtown Stamford, Connecticut. So many memories. Like when the Mill River flooded the road. I had to use an old shopping cart to deliver the mail that day. Or all the dogs that had barked at me, which was better than being chased! The apartment complexes, offices and houses I’d visited. The Christmas cards, special deliveries and presents. It was strange to think of leaving it all behind. Maybe that’s why I’d put off retiring for so long.
I turned away to look for whatever temporary vehicle I’d been assigned for my last day on the job. The mechanic called me back. “Hey, you don’t want to forget this!”
He reached his arm out of the truck and dropped something in my hand. A medallion with an angel on it. “Thanks!” I said, and tucked it into my wallet. This angel had been with me almost as long as I’d had my route. I didn’t remember where she came from, but she had a permanent place on the mail truck dashboard. She watched over my route through every flood, blizzard and angry dog.
Glad I didn’t leave her behind, I thought as I found my vehicle and pulled out of the garage. I went on my way with my angel in my wallet, delivering Easter cards and goodies.
I turned onto Washington Boulevard, a four-lane highway going north. The mailboxes here were set back a little ways from the road, the houses set back farther. As I prepared to pull over to the curb, I saw a little girl running back and forth between the lanes of the highway just in front of the red light at the intersection.
I wrenched the truck into the nearest driveway and slammed the brakes. I jumped out and ran into the intersection. I had just enough time to scoop the little girl up like a sack of mail and run back to the curb before a dump truck came barreling around the corner at top speed. The driver blasted his horn as he blew past us. He’d made a right turn on red without even slowing down.
I looked at the unexpected “package” in my arms. “Thank God he didn’t hit us,” I said.
The little girl just smiled at me, not frightened at all. A second later the light changed and the road filled with speeding cars. She had no idea the danger she’d been in.
I looked around at the houses nearby and spotted one with an open screen door. I walked up the driveway and steps, holding the little girl tight in my arms. “Hello?” I called.
Nobody answered, but I could hear voices inside. An older boy came to the door. “That’s my sister,” he said. The adult voices continued chatting in the very next room. Obviously they had no idea she’d slipped out.
I handed the little girl over to the care of her big brother and carefully closed the door until I heard a firm click. “Make sure the screen door stays locked,” I said to the children. “And happy Easter.”
I walked back to my truck on shaky legs and finished my route. Back at the post office I cleaned out my locker and swiped my time card one last time. I said goodbye to my supervisor and coworkers, but I brought my guardian angel with me into my new life. All that time I’d put off retiring. Now I knew why.
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