You never know when a small decision may turn out to have greater meaning than you imagine....
It's a yellow house with brown trim. The yard is well kept, and newly clipped bushes border the dwelling. As a postman will, I have spoken at times with both the husband and wife who live here. They are pleasant people.
I thumb through my two bundles of mail, and discover that I have a large manila envelope for them, the size of a magazine. I only now notice that it is postage due. To properly handle the piece and recover the revenue, the rule is I should return the article to the Post Office, show the receiving clerk it is postage due, and hand it over to them. Next morning, another clerk will bring the item to me as accountable. I will sign for it and deliver it after collecting the money due. This seems ridiculous to me, on several counts. First, I'm a lousy rule-follower. Second, it would entail the expense of the time, effort and salary of three additional people handling the item. Third, the piece will be delayed in delivery an additional day as well. The revenue I would collect wouldn't make a dent in what has already been spent, much less justify the additional labor expense.
My decision doesn't take long. The piece has been stamped 'postage due' by an efficient clerk, but has been additionally handled by several people who haven't noticed it. I choose to deliver it. Since it is oversized, I know many coworkers who would just fold and stuff it in the box to spend the least time at it. My guilt mechanism doesn't allow me to do this. I have no idea what the item is, but the people may not want it bent or creased. Their cars are gone. I knock on the door and no one answers. So I place it between the entry doors and walk on without a second thought.
The next day, the wife meets me when I walk up to the mailbox. "I believe I owe you some money," she says.
"No, it's all right," I tell her. "No one caught it until it got to me, so I just left it to save time and hassle. I didn't pay for it."
She thanks me profusely. "We've been waiting a long time for it," she says. "It was my son's death certificate. He was killed in Iraq."
Sometimes a small favor is bigger than you think.
Causes Stephen Kata Supports