Service of Unsung Heroes: Mailmen

November 2nd, 2023

Categories: Good Work, Mail, Mailmen, Unsung Heroes

Just some of the post boxes for my apartment building.

The post office doesn’t always get top grades but some of the mailmen should. Talk about unsung heroes.

A friend was lugging a package to the post office the other day when her mailman saw her on the street and asked if he could take it for her. Made her day.

We recently had a change of mailman which made me sad because the original one was a living computer. When I’d been here less than a month he knew to direct mail to me even if it had the wrong apartment number or no apartment number–a requirement in NYC. As I’ve mentioned on this blog, there are 510 mailboxes.

He was replaced by Kirk, with the same kind of memory. I entered the mail room one day while he was finishing up and he asked if he could get my mail for me and went to the correct box. I was amazed.

NYC has a mail theft crisis. We’ve read about it in the news. The letters I put in the box in our building always arrive.

A major financial institution sent me the following in a letter in September urging its clients to opt for direct deposit rather than traditional checks. “On February 27, 2023, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network published an alert highlighting the nationwide surge in mail theft-related check fraud. From March 2020 through February 2021 the United States postal inspection service received 299,020 mail theft complaints an increase of 161% compared with the same period an earlier year.

“Check fraud occurs when there is an interception and manipulation of a hard copy check that is meant to defraud the account owner.”

Why did I post the dates? It took the firm I work with seven months–from February to September–to get out this missive. It took the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network a year to alert financial institutions with the alarming statistics reported for March 2020-February 2021.

But I digress.

Years ago I was crossing Lexington Avenue near an office building I’d not worked in for 10 years. The mailman said hello and greeted me by name, and I was one of many employees on just one floor.

Is your mailman or woman terrific? Are there other unsung heroes who make our lives easier who are often overlooked? Do you wonder about how some organizations and institutions interpret the word “alert” as “when we get around to it,” and how they determine the priority of urgency of some information?

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9 Responses to “Service of Unsung Heroes: Mailmen”

  1. Hank Goldman Said:

    Thank you for writing about this problem… We have been through it, and one has to be really careful nowadays about paper checks… It’s best to use a marker instead of a pen, because it is more difficult to erase and forge a new name. And despite its best efforts by blocking the slots on the box, for outgoing mail, thievery is still a problem. Direct deposit Isn’t 100% safe but it’s certainly a better way to go

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Hank,

    Great tip. I didn’t know that about markers–Sharpie I guess–instead of ballpoint.

    The news I’ve read suggests to never drop a letter in a mailbox after the pickup time or on weekends. The best is to drop mail off at the post office. As I wrote in the post, the mail staff pick up letters from a mailbox in the building which has proved safe. Sad that we’ve come to this.

  3. Anonymous Said:

    I have seen the postman leave a box of yet undelivered mail, in lobbies of buildings, and doctors in that building have special colored envelopes for patients to send checks in… Which letters from that open box do you think the thieves will head for each and every day mail is delivered!?!

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Anonymous,

    We have no doctor’s offices here but the mail IS dropped off by someone in a truck and hangs around unsupervised in the mail room for a few hours before the mailman puts mail in our boxes. Hmmmm.

  5. Debbie Kunen Said:

    Debbie on Facebook: We had issues with mail carriers at our bldg. They took envelopes with checks for maintenance. Not everyone pays online. Don’t ask sbout other snafus. Untrustworthy 😡

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Debbie,

    Wow! So sorry to hear.

  7. Lucrezia Said:

    No problems of note here & the new postman comes earlier than the 5 & 6 pm deliveries the residents have had to become accustomed to. The area postal system has foiled thieves by creating mailboxes which block “fishing.” It makes mailing more difficult but increases safety. No complaints here!

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    We have those special boxes in Manhattan but apparently it hasn’t stopped the thieves and we are still told best never put letters in a mailbox on the street after pickup or over the weekend.

  9. Martha Tepper Takayama Takayama Said:

    I am answering this posting belatedly because I realized I had neglected to do so. I do not have sufficient words to praise the service, assistance and friendship we receive from our office mail delivery woman, Nancy di Stasio. She is very bright, dedicated, tireless, conscientious and a source of great help to us. Our office building is both fortunate and privileged to have her services,

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