Happy Friday, my fellow Earthlings! As I sit here thrilled that it’s spring and that this Sunday is Mother’s Day, when we honor the millions of amazing Moms who help us all through our lives, I have a very special story to share at the beginning of Good News Friday.
I’m usually pretty excited about all the Good News Friday stories I share, because if I wasn’t, well, why would I share them?
But this one… this one moved me a great deal. I love enterprising, creative kids, and I love the United States Postal Service, and those two loves don’t normally coincide.
But I read this week about an incredible 11-year-old girl in South Dakota named Emerson Weber. Her Dad, through a wonderful series of Tweets, talked about how Emerson’s obsession with writing letters, and her kinship with their local postman, led to something amazing happened.
Here, in paragraph form, are all the Tweets from her father Hugh about what happened. Please, please, I implore you, stick with this through the end, it’ll restore your faith in humanity and goodness.
So, so wonderful…
Emerson, my 11-year-old, is on a bit of a wild ride with the @USPS and our local mail carrier, Doug. And, I think there’s a deeper message to it all.
First, the backstory… Em has a serious letter writing habit. She maintains active correspondence with over a dozen of her favorite people. And, if you’ve been the lucky recipient of one of Em’s hand decorated letters and envelopes, then you have a pretty good idea of the joy they bring.
A: Because they’re really good at it.
The next day a package arrived with some stamps and two letters.
Doug had shared Em’s letter with his supervisor, Sara, and they both wanted to share how touched they were by her note.
Because Em was fully vulnerable, they were too.
Em shared jokes, so they shared jokes.
Em share her brother, so every gift that was sent came in duplicate.
Em shared @TaylorSwift13 and it turns out that the US Postal service is filled with lots of undercover Swifties.
And, they sent stamps to be used as well. Stamps for her to write back. Stamps for her to write others. Stamps, stamps, stamps. (218 by Em’s count.)
But, there was something more in these letters. People felt seen – some for the first time in a long time.
“I work alone in a small rural post office…”
“My kids all live far away…”
“Not a lot of people think about how hard we work…”
“I can’t tell you how much it means to read your letter…”
Another,“I have a son in Kuwait and if you have a second to send him a letter he would love it.”
“I know you can’t write back to all of us, but maybe I can drop you a line from time to time?”
She wrote the dad.
She wrote his son.
She assured the secret swifties not to be embarrassed because her dad likes TSwift, too.
She acknowledged that there WERE a lot of letter but that she had time.
She sees them all.
For yourself or for others.
And, thank your mail carrier (from an appropriate distance.) They are working extremely hard to keep us all connected.
**Next up today, the great John Krasinski web show “Some Good News” struck gold again this week, by hosting a virtual graduation with some very famous friends speaking, sometimes 1-on-1, to graduates.
Spielberg, Oprah, Malala, they’re all here. This was wonderful. (It’s great the whole way, but it gets really special around the 11-minute mark.)
***And finally today, this is a story I’d been meaning to put in this space weeks ago, forgot about, then remembered on Thursday. So it’s a few weeks old, but still fabulous.
Michael Che is one of the co-hosts of “Weekend Update” on “Saturday Night Live.” His grandmother died of complications from Covid-19 in March, and 10 days after her passing, Che announced that he’s doing something to honor his grandma—paying rent for the month for all 160 units in the public housing complex his grandmother used to live in in New York.
In response to a comment, Che explained that his grandmother had lived in the New York City Housing Authority building more than three decades ago, before moving south. But, he wrote, “it’s crazy to me that residents of public housing are still expected to pay their rent when so many New Yorkers can’t even work. ”
Outstanding job, Michael. Your grandma would be very proud.