Every now and then, and perhaps more often than you would think, there is public service worth a love letter, a letter to the people who go out of their way and beyond the call of duty to rescue an overwhelmed creature. We expect it from sales-people who either want your business or work on commission, but let’s face it, even then, we can tell the difference between unctuous and sincere.
When we get help from a public employee we can be assured it is a tribute to the intelligence and good-heartedness of that worker. As you may recall, I am a real fan of the US Postal Service from their mission to their trustworthiness and heroism to their organizational brilliance.
I just last month saw that my passport had expired three years ago and felt it wise to have one current. After all, you never know when you might win a trip to Paris. Due to some governmental bureaucratic goof-up I was unable to fill out the passport renewal application. You’d think it would be easy. Hah! First of all, as I searched the internet for a passport-office location I could not find one into which I could just walk and get help. Seems they prefer you do it on line. That’s okay if you are a totally generic applicant, but if you have a tricky issue, it won’t work. To get an appointment a particular San Francisco Post Office you have to call by phone. They don’t answer. Walk in and request that same appointment only to be told you have to call. “But you don’t answer, “ I say, and then ask “Why not just make the appointment for me now and I’ll come back at the appointed time?” “No,” the clerk assures me, ’You have to make the call by telephone.,” “But you don’t answer,” I counter. Gnashing my teeth didn’t help, so, I decided to try a smaller more personal place. My husband and I were headed to the wine-country for the day, so hello Sonoma California Post Office with the sign that they took passport applications daily. My heart leaped with relief.
My eternal thanks to Cely who showed an immediate desire to help and then a dogged devotion to the task of getting me through the swamp of details in which I was drowning. A life raft she was. Not only did Cely guide me through the application, she spotted a major error I had made, sweetly gave me a new application and watched me fill out each line. By no stretch of the job description was she required to do that. Her innate push to help simply took over. Sweet, intelligent, patient and good humored. And, when I had to leave the post office (and my place in line) to get one more document from the car, she was ready to receive me on my return.
This is public service as it is meant to be. The postal service is lucky to have her. Anyone would be. Oh, and did I have to go elsewhere to get a proper passport application photo. Not at all. She took it. Did she get a love letter of appreciation from me? You bet. I put Cely of the Sonoma Post Office high on my list of public service worth a love letter.
As tempting as it is to write a letter of complaint for bad, rude or doltish service, it is more satisfying to write a letter of loving appreciation.
From me to you with love in the air,
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