Her Spirits Were Lifted by a Teen Who Did the Right Thing

She felt she had more problems than blessings, until a young neighbor changed her mind.

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Posted in , Apr 28, 2022

Melissa Prewitt with her neighbor Audree; photo by Trace Thomas

You know how when big things in your life aren’t go­ing well, the little things bother you more? That hap­pened to me last year. Like many people during the pandemic, my hus­band, Paul, had been laid off. I was still working, but my job was only part-time and would likely be ending soon too. I was worried about money, Covid, our future. That’s when our mailboxes really started getting to me.

Our property had two houses on it—the one Paul and I lived in and another that we rented out. I’d never liked our mailboxes much. They stood at the end of our long driveway, far enough away from our house, fortu­nately, that I didn’t see them often.

The mailboxes, relics from the previ­ous homeowners, had already been in rough shape when we moved in. The past 10 years hadn’t been kind to them. The paint was faded and chipped. The metal pole holding up the boxes was rusted.

At some point, someone had driven into the pole. It was now bent slight­ly, making the mailboxes cockeyed, pointing in different directions. Still, because the boxes could hold the mail and the mail carrier wasn’t complain­ing, there really was no need to replace them. But every time I saw them lately, they reminded me of all the problems in my life.

Lord, I wish we had better mailboxes, I found myself thinking as I pulled out of the driveway one day while on my way to work. It wasn’t really a prayer, more of a passing thought. I probably would have forgotten all about it if not for the news we got the next morning.

“Shihiem just texted,” Paul said. Shihiem was a neighbor and a good friend. His sister rented the other house on our property. “A girl drove her car right into the mailboxes. Com­pletely mowed them down.”

“Is she okay?” I asked.

“The driver wasn’t hurt, but she was really upset. Shihiem saw it happen. He said she’s just a teenager. He gave her our number and information.”

That certainly wasn’t in the budget, I thought. As much as I wanted new mailboxes, getting them would be expensive. With our income slashed since Paul’s layoff, this was an expense we didn’t need.

I sighed. I guess it’s true what they say: Be careful what you wish for.

I got ready for the day and happened to glance out the window. There was an unfamiliar car at the end of the driveway. It was too far away to see what the driver was doing. “Should we go check it out?” Paul asked.

“I need to run some errands any­way,” I said. “I’ll let you know what’s going on.”

By the time I was ready to leave, the strange car was gone. I got in my own car and drove down.

Whoa! Where our battered, rust­ed mailboxes had once stood was a sturdy, white post. It had two arms branching off from the center. A new, shiny mailbox perched on each arm—one black, one white. Each one had large, neat numbers on the sides, the white mailbox with black numbers and the black one with white num­bers. Just beautiful.

I sat there in my car at the end of the driveway, stunned. All this work had been completed before the mail even arrived! Staring at the mailboxes some more, I realized the post wasn’t just a post. It looked like a large white cross.

I called Paul when I reached the store. “Have you seen the mailboxes yet?” I asked. “If not, you have a sur­prise waiting for you!”

When I got home, Paul said, “You didn’t check inside the mailboxes, did you? Because I found this.” He handed me a note.

Dear Neighbor, it read, I am so, so sorry I hit y’all’s mailbox. I bought and replaced them with new pretty ones. Again, I am so sorry. Have a wonderful, blessed day!

The writer, Audree, had included her phone number and address, in case we needed anything else. We did—we needed to thank her! We also wanted to make sure she hadn’t been injured. Paul had found the pole from the old mailboxes lying on the ground just a few feet away. It was bent al­most in half.

When we called, her mother an­swered. “Audree’s 16 years old. She’s only been driving for a year. This is her first accident,” she said. Audree had a part-time job. She had bought the replacements with her own money. “We’re lucky it turned out the way it did,” her mother said. “No one was hurt, and this was a great learning ex­perience for Audree.”

So much good came out of this ac­cident. It taught our sweet young neighbor Audree an important lesson about responsibility. And it gave me a much-needed reminder that God knows the desires of my heart, from the big things all the way down to the little things—like better mailboxes.

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