How open is your heart? There are unbelievable stories of what happens when hearts are fully open. The following story is true and, indeed, it involves hearts—pure hearts. It took place about 20 years ago in a large midwestern city.
The Magic of Kindness
A postal employee who specialized in the delivery of express and priority mail used to deliver mail to a very posh address in an upper-class neighborhood. The postal employee was a kind and decent fellow who had a good heart.
He had taken some hard knocks in his life, but he was grateful for his job and for the many wonderful people he met on his route. Maybe his greatest attribute was that he was kind. He was in his late 30s and had never been married.
He would often deliver priority mail letters to a particular apartment two or three times a week. He had no idea what was contained in the letters, but he always had problems fitting the letters in the mailbox because it was stuffed with junk mail. No personal mail, maybe a bill here and there, but mostly junk mail.
On this one day, the box was so full the letter carrier brought her junk mail and the priority mail up to the tenth floor.
“Perhaps she is an invalid,” he thought. “Perhaps she is quite elderly.”
He tentatively knocked on the door, showed his ID and the door creaked open. The woman was not old or infirm. She was in her early 40s, very well dressed and obviously wealthy. However, she did not smile. She just thanked him, took the mail and that was that. Nevertheless, a pattern was formed. Occasionally, he would add that it was a beautiful day or some such detail. Once he told her about how much he enjoyed seeing the Christmas lights.
The weeks and months passed. He knew her name from the mail, of course, but the only thing he knew was that other than the priority mail letters, there was never anything personal in the box.
One day when he delivered the mail to her directly, she looked exceptionally sad.
He said, “Pardon me, missus, and it is none of my business, but are you sick. Are you all right? Do you need my help?”
She told him that around that date, she was always blue. It marked the anniversary of the passing of her husband. He had been a surgeon assigned to temporary duty in Iraq.
He expressed how sorry he was. He assured her that one day she would be happy again.
Worth Taking a Risk
It was near Valentine’s Day. He stayed awake wondering if he should take a chance and do something bold. Sure enough, a priority mail letter came through for her. Against all of his better judgment, he went to the card store and bought the most neutral Valentine’s Day card he could find. He signed it with his name, and underneath, “Your Friendly Postman and Army Reserve Veteran.” He put the letter under the priority mail envelope and quickly walked away.
He yelled at himself for the rest of his shift and the next several days. How embarrassing, he thought. I hope I don’t get fired. She probably spends more on clothes each month than I make in a year. He called himself every name in the book, but he was not sorry.
The next time he delivered the mail, the mailbox was again completely jammed. He told himself to be a man. To just hand her the mail and be on his way. He braced himself and knocked on the door.
“Hello, Robert,” she said. “Thank you! That was the first Valentine’s Day card I received in many years; you made me smile.”
He looked down in embarrassment.
“Yes, missus. Please don’t be mad at me. I’m glad it made you happy,” he said.
“Please, call me Karen,” she said.
I started out telling you this was a true story. It is. I heard the story firsthand at my forty-year high school class reunion in August. I also want to share that over time they began to go out for coffee here and there, then began to date. She was quite wealthy, but what she saw in Robert was another kind of wealth. The wealth of an open heart. To be rich is not what you have in your bank account, but what you have in your heart. He was also a bit psychic. You see, she would be happy again. In fact, they have been happily married for many years.