When I was a young mom and a new homeowner, I did a favor for a former high school classmate that lived in Alaska. She was a senior on the varsity basketball team when I was a freshman on the JV squad. This now adult woman, distanced from her past, wanted a copy of the high school yearbook from that year she graduated.
I had bought a yearbook my freshman year and decided to fulfill her plea from across the miles as a random act of kindness. I dug out my archived yearbook, copied it page by page and sent a black and white copy to her military address. I was happy to help, didn’t need a thank you and never heard any more about it – until I did.
I scrolled the comments of a very young Facebook, perhaps 2005; our girls were young and we’d just built the garage. We loved hitting the remote garage door opener as we approached the frontage of our property. My husband had built the garage on his own, we’d all seen it develop from the foundation up, and the automatic door was the icing on the cake.
The FB comments from my militant high school teammate were angry and bitter. She explained her grand thank you, an expensive gesture that went unrecognized. My yearbook recipient couldn’t believe how rude “someone” could be. On-line bullying was already alive and well.
By reading her page, I learned that fresh Alaskan halibut had been Fedexed to the ‘person’ that answered her request for a yearbook. Said ‘person’ had not even acknowledged the return gratitude. A true delicacy was overnighted to the “lower 48” and she’d not received so much as a fellow thank you. After over a week of waiting to hear back, she was ‘over it’ and vowed to never do anything that generous again. She literally went local.
I was said person and had not received a FedEx. We had not eaten fresh Alaskan halibut without saying thank you. To quote Red Buttons, “I never got the dinner!”
I told my husband what I’d learned. We checked the front door and the back stoop. We called FedEx.
Evidently, a slip had been left more than a week ago. On that date, FedEx was awaiting a callback, to deliver a very large package labeled “fresh seafood” according to the records. We hung up and went outside to look for the attempted delivery slip.
We found it. The slip was posted, not on one of the doors to the house, but rather, on the door of the garage. We came and went for nine days and had never seen the note!
The slip from FedEx stated they’d re-deliver upon our call, if we could be at the house to sign for the package. We called again. “Lady, it’s been over a week. We sent that package back to central processing. You’ll have to pick it up there.”
Learning the warehouse was 40 miles away, we drove further inland to track down our fresh catch. At the end of our road trip, the warehouse manager explained that they couldn’t refrigerate endlessly. Our package had been destroyed 2 days prior as ‘undeliverable’. Didn’t I know how bad rotten fish smelled?
Not really but I felt rotten. My random act of kindness had turned into a fellow act of kindness that spoiled in more than one way. Our side of the story seemed like a lot to explain; I didn’t have the heart to tell the Alaskan woman that her native halibut had actually been thrown out.
You’d think that would be the end of the story but no, that was just a memory that recently came back to the surface.
I mean, why do delivery services put items in front of a garage when there is a perfectly nice front stoop or back deck anyway?
After 15 years, we still don’t walk along the front of our garage before we leave for the day. Walking into the side of the garage to get into our vehicles seems perfectly acceptable. I load what I need for the day, open the automatic door and back out the door into the driveway.
Two weeks ago, there just happened to be a delivery in the way. I felt the bump before I saw the package. The sensation was in my chest; I nearly had a heart attack wondering what, or who, I’d run over. I looked forward again and saw the small smashed box on the asphalt. My tire had flattened 1/3 of the box. The contents survived my rolling pin tires. The delivery was a good laugh, that prompted memory of the halibut snafu, and no harm was done.
Until it happened again last week. Another box was left in front of my garage bay! I didn’t see or feel the package this time, I heard it. The glass content was unforgiving and so was I.
I drove to the Post Office in a huff. The dear USPS had delivered to our driveway this time. I showed the desk clerk my crushed and now partially open package. With a line forming, and me now a little embarrassed to speak publicly about my driving mishap, explained where the package was placed and waited for her and the government to take accountability.
“Okay, that’s fine. I’ll stamp “Refused” and send it back to the company.”
That was the governmental solution. Although, I couldn’t argue with her. She’d probably not been the one to place the package on our driveway. And after all, I was declining acceptance of the parcel.
This third time was a charm. Now I just have to wait to see if I get a refund or a new shipment. I am the unintended bad guy yet again. I don’t think I did myself any favors.