As you probably know, the United State Postal Service has been trying to cut costs to recent years.
One effect of their cost reductions has been the elimination of "door delivery" to a lot of new homes. If you move to a new subdivison, you're likely to find you must install a rural-type mailbox at the curb or settle for "cluster box service."
Some people might consider it a minor inconvenience to have to walk out to the curb to fetch their mail. Ann Jackson finds it almost impossible. "I am crippled withrheumatoral arthritis, and am a vitual shut in," she explained, "I have two artificial hips, one artificial knee joint and two elbow joints. Forgive the braging, but they have helped to some independence of movement and light housekeeping chores."
Before I began reading Ann's letter, I had been feeling sorry for myself. My right arm was bandaged above and below the elbow, so I couldn't bend the arm enough to get a spoon to my mouth. And when I tried eating left handed, I quickly discovered how clumsy I am. So I was feeling sorry for myself when Ann Jackson's letter came into my life.
"I live in a townhouse," the letter went, "but I am not entitled to door delivery because of a P.O. moratorium three years ago when the house was built. However, four doors away to my left and eight doors to the right the occupants of those homes are getting door delivery. Some of the houses are identical.
"For the past week I've talked myself hoarse, written numerous letters, all to no avail. My handicapped condition does not entitle me to say 'postal' benefits. I can manage inside the house but can't walk down the road to mailbox cluster. Please let me have your advice and help me to an independence I cherish."
I pushed the telephone away so that I could dial it with a straight arm (have you ever tried to dial left-handed?) and rang up a USPS official who is not only a fine public servant but a woman with an understanding heart. I read her Ann's letter and said, "Surely she qualifies for service as a hardship case, doesn't she?"
There was a sigh from the other end. "I wish I could give you a positive 'yes' on that," she said. "But it's up to the local postmaster. He has to consider each individual case and the surrounding circumstances. Let me go to work on this and see what I can do."
In a half hour she called me back. "Would you believe," she said, "I didn't even have to pull any strings. The postmaster had just concluded that because of her condition and the situation on the remainder of the route he would be able to accommodate her, and she's going to get her mail delivered right to her door from now on."
No doubt the postal deficit will now be a little higher than it would otherwise have been, but y'know something? I don't really give a ding-dong. It's nice to know that there are still some people in government who have the guts to make a decision that a nitpicker might criticize.