Today, Eugene Drinkard, who was our regular mail delivery person, for two years, inspired me to begin a blog series. It is only fitting that he should be the first subject of the series that I will call Way Above and Far Beyond…
In the United States, mail delivery routes are put up for bid (probably every 12 months, but I don’t know that for a fact). Three years ago, no one wanted the route we live on, no one but Eugene Drinkard, that is. In spite of his lack of seniority, Eugene won the route because he was the only one who bid for it.
I don’t know if Christmas gifts are an accurate measure of Eugene’s customer satisfaction rating, but if not, they are probably as accurate as any other measure. And I know this, during Christmas season; Eugene carries a pre-signed stack of thank you cards and gives one to everyone who gives him a gift.
I also know that we miss him. You see, two years after Eugene took over our route; things had changed so much the route suddenly became very attractive, and Eugene was outbid by a senior mail delivery person. Now we see him only when that person calls in sick (which is often, thank goodness) or has Union Stewart duties to attend to, which is why I talked with and was inspired by Eugene today.
I’m glad our regular mail delivery person/postal employee union steward is in Tunica Mississippi, the casino capitol of our part of the world, taking care of Postal Employee Union Members’ business. His union business inspired me to begin writing about people who live “way beyond and far above” the requirements of their career.
This morning, I left the house to run a few errands, and a couple of blocks into my journey, I saw Eugene going about his appointed rounds. I knew it was Eugene because he was three hours earlier than our current regular delivery person.
I slowed to speak to him, and he waved and then held up a square white box and silently asked if I would like to have it. I nodded yes, pulled over, parked, and ran back to his truck. By the time I got there, he had gathered all of our mail and handed it to me along with the box which happened to be a birthday present for Christina.
That is way above and far beyond his job requirements. So is walking to the door of every person on the route that has difficulty getting back and forth to their mailbox. So is picking up outbound mail that wasn’t in the box when he made the first delivery. This isn’t Great Britain, but with Eugene, we enjoy two mail pickups. To walk to the porch and pick up any item too large to go in the mail box is way above and far beyond the requirements of his job, as are the ever-present smile, wave of the hand, and feeling that if you don’t meet anyone all day who was glad to see you, you met Eugene Drinkard, and there is no doubt in your mind he was glad to see you.
We weren’t the only one of Eugene’s customers who were upset by his departure. Quite a few of our neighbors complained to the postmaster. Of course, that was a waste of our time, beyond letting the postmaster know that we do appreciate way above and far beyond service and we miss the hell out of Eugene.