In March, I hung a sign on our mailbox, thanking the postman* for working as a then-unknown virus blossomed in our metro area from hundreds of cases to thousands over the course of a few weeks.
Most of us were sheltering in place; he faced the world every day. He’s a gentleman who looks to be approaching retirement age. I wanted him to know his service to our community was not going unnoticed.
Here are photos of my new, similar-to-what-I’m-talking-about, winter Happy Holidays gratitude sign. The first one was pink with flowers in honor of the approaching spring. Also flowers, like the holly I’ve sketched here, are easy to draw even without artistic talent. Both were drawn with Sharpie marker on EVA foam construction material to withstand the elements.
Though I’d exchanged pleasantries with our mailman pretty regularly, and friendly waves often, he took time from his rounds to come to our door and acknowledge our well wishes
. Our letter carrier told me he’d posted a picture of our little sign to his social media, he felt so touched. He wanted other postal workers to see that people cared.
It mattered, to our most regular delivery driver, that we had made an effort on his behalf.
The pandemic has raged on, waning over the summer here in New England, and waxing again under the current punishment of the second wave. Essential workers carry on, and delivery drivers are keeping my family—which includes two septuagenarians with pre-existing conditions and a child with asthma—fed, medicated, and able to enjoy many of the usual trappings of the winter holidays we celebrate.
Without these men and women, business would grind to a complete halt. Never mind those of us who choose and can afford to shop from home; without deliveries, there would be no parts to assemble in factories, no flow of goods or services, no products to buy on the shelves for those who still prefer to visit stores in person.
Delivery drivers are the pulsing lifeblood of modern society. I’m grateful for every one of them, for showing up at work, for keeping our economy functioning, for taking on personal risk to allow me to protect the vulnerable members of my family.
Words alone can’t express the depth of my gratitude!
Here’s one tangible way that I’m saying thank you to the drivers who serve my community.
I got the idea for putting out snacks from the internet. I decorated the box with scraps of wrapping paper in hopes the festive decoration would lift spirits while the calories in the snacks nourish bodies
. I tried to include†
a mixture of sweets, savory, and tangerines for
a bit of healthy.
I was a little surprised, actually, by how easily I found an array of grab-and-go snacks in my pantry. The cessation of packed school lunches has left me with more “extra” individual serving items than I might have in normal times. Some of these items were included in a gift basket from a colleague, the cereal was one type in a multi-pack that my family didn’t go for, the kosher doughnut came in a Hanukkah Cheer package we received from a local Jewish group.
The internet—and the official sites for the United States Postal Service, FedEx, and UPS—offers conflicting advice on whether and how one may tip professional delivery drivers. Officially, cash seems to be a no-no, or at least strongly discouraged; off the record, I know some drivers sometimes accept gratuities of money or gift cards.
If I were going out, I might buy a dozen or so small denomination gift cards for places like Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts that abound in our area. $5 cards to drive thru restaurants seem reasonable, but I hesitate to offer gift cards that may be against the rules for drivers to accept.
I suspect they would be taken, and appreciated, if I had some to leave out; I’m just rule-abiding, perhaps to a fault, but I offer the idea to my renegade readers.
I wish I could think of a hygienic way to offer a warm drink on cold days right at my door, but leaving out a flask of hot coffee seems unappealing while a contagious virus is circulating.
If my snacks go quickly and appear popular, I may also try home baked items‡ I don’t know if drivers would risk a homemade muffin in a baggie, but I’m comfortable with the waste if those go untouched. I’d rather keep offering something rather than nothing if my packaged options dwindle. I’ve committed to shopping as rarely as possible as our hospitals fill and COVID-19 case counts continue to rise in our region.
If you’d like to do something similar, I’ve uploaded a PDF of my gratitude sign. Feel free to print it and use it yourself, or adapt it in any way you’d like. I laminated mine because I have a plethora of home business equipment, but a sheet protector offers some protection from the elements, and even a layer of tape extends the life of paper in light rain.
It isn’t important exactly what you do. But, if possible, find some way to thank the delivery drivers making daily life possible in your area. Every one of us has been touched by their contributions.
* The same person who has routinely delivered our mail for many years at this address. I’m thinking of a particular man, hence my choice of the gendered job title.
† I wish I had some single serve drinks to include, but my feelings about wasteful packaging keep me from buying many of those. I didn’t have any on hand to include. Any beverage I might offer would have to be schlepped to my house by a delivery driver; is the lugging of liquids worth it in this case? I’ll admit; I’m a bit conflicted on that point.
‡ I would affix a label matching my home address to offer confidence I wasn’t a creeper, up to no good, trying to poison someone!