Thank You Letter
I think when people look back at this time in our history, especially, in US history they're going to see a lot of disagreement a lot of fighting really. Whether the topic is, should you wear a mask? Should we open the school's back backup or should we let federal agents grab protesters off the streets? There's just not a lot of empathy going around. People are not taking a moment to step into each other's shoes. Try to see things from both sides. There's a lot going on in the world. A lot to take issue with. A lot to take aside on. But there's also a lot to be grateful for. Like all the essential workers, risking their lives, clocking in day in and day out tobacco groceries, drive buses or deliver our mail. These are services. We rely on to survive. But we often take them for granted. And that's what today's story is about. Someone showing gratitude when they didn't have to and setting an example in the process one that affected a lot of people. And she's eleven years old. I saw him like look at it. Funny and it was just. It was really weird because he got tired of caught him off guard. Media, this telescope I'm Jonathan Hirsch Monday Wednesday and Friday. We'll bring you. Stories of people who are far away up close. And? How each of us are learning to live? This moment. Producer Joanna Clay has the story. Emerson Weber loves to write letters usually on the inside is just a really. One or two pages full of words. I write a lot and then on the outside. It's a envelope debated with bright colors, and sometimes some glitter glue because who doesn't like glitter glue I mean. Yeah, who doesn't like Glitter Glue? Emerson is eleven. She just finished the fifth grade and she lives in Sioux Falls South Dakota. But her pen pals. They're all over Minnesota. North Carolina Idaho. Lot our friends and family, but most are folks. She's never met so I usually included tidbit of information about my brother Finn is younger than me. Any drives me crazy sometimes, but I love him anyway and I always share what I'm reading so right now. I'm reading the shadow children's series by Margaret. Peterson had it. And why do you think a letter is maybe nicer than an email or text? I just feel like it's more personal because they know that you thought about them and took the time to think about them and write them a letter. Enduring the pandemic with folks stuck at home. She's ramped up her letter writing on average. How many letters you're writing may be a week. On average is probably about eight, but now this week. It's probably been about twenty. Wow. The hardest part about quarantine has been being stuck at home unable to see her friends at school, so writing letters has been a source of comfort away to keep her friends updated on her life. Emily Thankful for mail carriers right now because they helped me get to people who I'm not near at the moment, and so I feel like now. People just really appreciate getting a letter. Emerson didn't know her mail carrier by name, but she knew face became every day and whisked her letters off to pen pals. And it hit her. Why not write him a letter? I just really wanted him to know that people were thankful for him. Because right now he sees lots of male, but he may not receive lots of male. I wanted him to know we cared about him and he was appreciated. How did you address it because you didn't know his name at the time? Right, so you put it in the mailbox so on the envelope a decorated it really bright and I wrote Mr Mailman this letter is for you. Yeah, you because I'm sure it'd be a little bit of a surprise like wait what I usually take letters from this person I. Don't get to open them. That's awesome. And then what happened when he got the letter I saw him like look at it funny and it was just it was really weird, because he got it kind of caught him off guard, so were you like watching through the window? Yeah, we were we kind of know when he comes during the day, so we did watch the window. Did you see him read it. She still had a job to do so we like pulled up and I'm sure he read it later after he did his route so I didn't see him. Read it it pretty long, so he would have had to sit there for a while. How long was it? What did you write in? It is probably one and a half pages and I just told them about myself. I like it when you write the first letter to somebody because you can tell them all these things about yourself that they don't already know and so I included lots of that. What kinds of things just my favorite color? Some instruments I play what grade I'm in. Can you tell me those things? My favorite color is blue. I've played guitar and my lucky number seven, because that's how many albums Taylor swift has out and soon, my favorite song writer so told him about that. Doug her milk carrier was touched in hours later. He came into office in Sioux. Falls insured with a supervisor Sarah Bell Will Doug. He had come in from his route. He was done with it for the day, and after he was done putting things away at his case, he came up to me with his hand. Any shared it with me as a supervisor Sarah Signs. The routes Sioux falls has forty six city routes, and she makes sure that the carriers are taken care of with their. It's watching out for dangerous dogs or fixing broken mailboxes. Basically, she's better make their jobs easier. And you said you know, I think we ought to write this girl back. This is a pretty long letter and it's. It's pretty cool, so I sat down and read it and it was just. It was describing how appreciative she was that he takes her male and make sure it gets to the right person and. That he's out there every day dealing with the elements and pandemic. Putting himself out there like that. And I just found it heartwarming. Doug Sarah if she would help him and right Emerson back so Sarah took the letter home. I did it on my stationary I had there. So I included some stickers in there purple pen something that I thought she would appreciate as an eleven year old. And I asked her about her family I hope that they were doing well and just think turf for reach an hour, and for thinking a postal worker, and how much it mattered to him. Emerson had no idea, but Sarah had already shared her. Thank you, letter to Doug with USPS. It was making the rounds, so we have a bulletin board here at the station and so I put it up. There and everybody was kind of odd by it that it was a real good letter, so I took it, and I put it in internal newsletter, called Tokens of thanks into a shared with postal workers across the country. And then the responses started pouring in, and they wanted to know how they could write her. They wanted to thank her basically for thanking them. It, touched mail carriers all over the country, the small token banks to these essential workers who, for the most part, we kind of take for granted I think a lot of time. They're just kind of somebody that you see in the background on a normal basis and a Lotta Times I think postal workers don't think too much of it about getting. Thank you. but when like the the postal workers from around the company saw how much one person appreciated it. They wanted to take the time to write her back and just thank her for being her after Sarah's letter, Emerson started getting more letters from postal workers. A lot of them so about maybe two or three days later I dug, dropped off two big boxes of mail, and it was crazy, and they were all personal in long, and I got to read through. This overwhelming reaction it touched. Amer said she has a bucket for her letters, but made a special bucket just for the USPS once. Yeah I've been saving all the letters. I've received throughout all of this and I'm sure when I'm older I'll read through them and stuff like that I was GonNa make scrapbook, and like put him on different places and decorate them, but now there's so many I I take way too long so I've just been keeping them in a bucket. The reaction. It showed that thank you means a lot right now. The pandemic has thrown mail. Carriers into overdrive. People are ordering packages at the rate. They normally see around, Christmas. Luckily Sarah, Bell and her employees in Sioux falls have been okay. Only a couple have fallen ill with in nineteen, and they've recovered, but according to the La Times over thousand USPS workers have fallen ill from the corona virus, and at least sixty one have died. This is Sarah again. We provide them. The face masks gloves. And then we make sure that there's social distancing within the office. I think the biggest thing is to keep them informed I know the first week. A lot of people were super scared. They didn't know what it was. What was going to happen how long it was gonNA last like we have headquarters putting out information that we can read to the carriers and gives them on a daily basis. Sometimes, we were doing up to four talks a day to just keep them in the loop about the news and Statistics. the United States. Postal Service is chronically underfunded. In fact, no tax dollars go to the agencies operating expenses which are funded by postage products and services while package deliveries are up first class mail is the bread and butter when it comes to revenue and overall mail volume is down. In a statement back in April the postmaster general said that the agency predicts an additional twenty two billion in. Over the next eighteen months and fifty, four billion in the long-term threatening survival dumb line. USPS is asking Congress for relief. which president trump hasn't exactly been keen on the postal. Service is a joke. The Post Office should raise the price of a package by approximately four times because it'll raise them. President. Trump also critiqued the safety and efficacy of mail in ballots, five states in the US including Washington State and Hawaii are already nearly entirely vote by mail. USPS and local governments have shown confidence in their ability to continue processing ballots. Sarajevo doesn't like to talk politics, but what she will say is her mail. Carriers are working harder than ever on average they take between. Eight or sometimes up to twelve hours per day Anna's forest packages I would say at the lower end about twenty a day up to. A hundred seventy five, so it's it's A. It's a lot. They're delivering what people need on a regular basis, medicine stimulus social security checks. They've a lot of farmers in the area so sometimes they're delivering a part for a broken tractor, so can get up and running again. It's an important job. It's what meet Sarah. Want to work for USPS. When I was little I always appreciated my mail carrier He had a special role in my life to, and it was the same one from when I was a little kid until I left the House Sarah to start writing letters when she was around Emerson's age and then. You know when when I started my first job. Obviously that slowed down because I had to get a grasp on on how to live life as an adult, but then came back around to it. You know and joined a couple of online groups and. There's like a a couple on facebook where we just write letters to somebody that has a birthday so simple card it just. It's amazing how much it'll touch somebody else. I ask Sarah Emerson the same question at the end of their interviews. What do you hope listeners take away from the story? And they both gave the same answer. A ladder. Just God, there and see maybe. A person that you could write you. They'll appreciate the time that you take to actually handwrite alert to them. Miss GonNA mean a lot to them. It sounds simple in sort of tedious like. Don't we have email for this? But there is something about receiving a letter. It always feels special when I got one. Why not pay that forward more often? Right after to Sarah, I opened instagram and the first thing I saw was an image of a woman named. With sign above her head that read. Will you be my pen pal? It felt like a sign. That sign was literally assigned. Barbara lives in a senior living facility in North Carolina and its operator Victorian senior care has been flooding social media with Posts Light Barbara's asking folks to consider writing to people and it's care, so I figured why not? AM getting paper. I'm going to write to him. Name Blonde Dow. She's from Cumberland village and Fayetteville North Carolina and her sign says hey. My name is blonde doll I like to call her. Eat Candy and shop and I mean same so I don't have glitter glue, but I do have markers. Let's get this? Party started. somethings I've included is in thirty three. I live in Los Angeles told her I also like candy. I'm currently obsessed with churches. Dummies and included my of which is putting them in the refrigerator because they are delicious when they're cold, so I'm just trying to think of things to write to someone who has no idea who I am and then. Ask One dollars a little bit about yourself and then some this off. Taking a cue from Emerson right now and drying. But I just drew. Such an ugly flower, but I feel like you know at least I tried. These farmers are truly sad. Now putting in this in the mailbox, In its. OFF TO BLONDEL A BIG! Thank you to Emerson. Weber and Sarah, bell for taking time to talk with us. This is the forty ninth. Of Season One of telescope, which means they can't believe this. We have only one left coming up this Friday. Before we leave you today. I want you to know if you didn't know already that we do a lot of other things here at home besides telescope. And we're producing a whole set of shows that are coming out this fall. And recently we partnered with a number of media organizations to produce new shows like motive for murder with NBC and dateline. If you're interested in other projects and neon home has under our belt. You can go to our website. neon home, DOT COM and sign up for a newsletter. You'll find interesting behind the scenes detail about the stories. We do here until ISKOE. You. You'll also hear about all the other great shows we have for you. So check this out. NEON HUM DOT COM. Does is made possible by the world class team of producers, editors and engineers makeup neon home media. Jonty is the managing producer telescope. Today's episode was produced and reported by Klay. It was edited by Victim Patel and Catherine Saint Louis Our engineer is Marc. Busch thanks to Matt McGinley For our theme music and blue. Dot Sessions for additional tracks here on this episode. Follow us on twitter and Instagram at me on home. Media. You can also join our facebook group by searching telescope. You like this show. Please remember to rate and review on Apple podcasts. Jonathan Hirsch. And we'll see you on Friday for the fiftieth and final episode of season, one. Telescope.