Hugh Weber is dad to Emerson, an 11-year-old girl who loves to write letters. Recently, Emerson decided to write a thank-you note to her mail carrier, the man responsible for sending her letters to friends out into the world. She didn't realize it would spark a totally "wild ride" with the USPS and that more and more people would get involved. Hugh wrote a whole thread to explain exactly what happened. This story is bound to warm your heart.
I don't know if you're quite ready for the cuteness of this story. Get your "awwwws" ready because once they start, they will not stop. First, we learn a little about Emerson.
Do you have a pen pal? Have you ever started a handwritten letter correspondence with a friend or a loved one? It's pretty much the best thing ever. Writing an email or a text is one thing, but you simply can't beat a handwritten letter. There's something so special about it. Plus, who doesn't want to get a piece of mail?! Getting mail is so exciting!
Sounds like Emerson and I would be great friends. I also like art and jokes and have a younger brother and a secret love for Taylor Swift. Did I say that out loud?
Emerson mentioned all of these things in a letter to her mail carrier, Doug. For the record, that is an excellent joke that I will tell everyone I come across.
Emerson thought she'd thank Doug for helping get her letters to their destination. She didn't realize that this simple act of kindness would spark something so much bigger.
Doug had shared the wonderful letter Emerson wrote him with his supervisor Sara, and they both wanted to express their appreciation for her note. They included some stamps and handwritten letters for Emerson. In her letter, Sara said that because Doug is an essential worker, he might not be able to correspond regularly, but that he would certainly get any letter that Emerson wrote. According to Hugh, "Em started writing that very afternoon." And then, things escalated.
Sara had shared Emerson's letter in a regional newsletter for Western USPS employees, and several people expressed that they, too, would love to write to Emerson. They just wanted to know if Emerson's parents would like to screen these letters first. "This has sparked great joy in a time of turmoil in our country and I thank you for raising a daughter like Emerson," the letter reads. If I was Emerson's parents, this would have made me burst into tears.
Doug showed up at their house with two boxes filled with letters from USPS employees all over the country. The thought of people sending letters has never made me this emotional before. But here we are.
I just love this so much. It's so special and person to receive a handwritten letter from someone. And all these people, who deal with transporting letters every day, still know that, and they wanted to engage with Emerson to keep that enthusiasm up.
We're all so vulnerable right now. It's a comfort to be vulnerable with other people, even if you don't actually know them! And especially if they, too, love Taylor Swift.
How incredible is this?! We totally take the United States Postal Service for granted. It's an incredible service, one that should be celebrated and appreciated for the amazing work it does.
I think it's safe to say Emerson's letter writing won't slow down any time soon, especially now that she has all these cool stamps to use. The fact that they wanted to encourage her so much is so heartwarming. But there was more to this effort, more to the reason behind why so many wanted to write to Emerson...
So many are facing unprecedented loneliness because of the pandemic. Writing letters is a tangible way to connect with others. Hugh wrote, "One wrote, 'I can’t tell you how much it means to read your letter...' Another, 'I have a son in Kuwait and if you have a second to send him a letter he would love it.' And another, 'I know you can’t write back to all of us, but maybe I can drop you a line from time to time?'" Everyone is longing for human connection right now. Emerson unknowingly tapped into that.
Is it weird to say that Emerson is my hero? Because she is. She had no idea how many lives she would change with the simple act of writing a thank-you note to her mail carrier. But she wanted to form that connection with people. She wanted to bring a smile to their faces.
OK, here come the waterworks. It's so true. In another tweet, Hugh wrote, "It’s #MentalHealthAwareness month and I want to be bold and brave like Em. We’re all in a moment of physical isolation that is amplifying a real epidemic of loneliness, anxiety, and depression. I’ve been feeling it personally since long before we locked our front door." And he's not alone.
Hugh shared that he started talking to a therapist through Talkspace. This is an unprecedented tough time for people. Em's small effort to make a connection did so much more for people than she could have imagined. The moral of the story, Hugh wrote, is "it's the small things that matter most, friends."
Reach out to the people you care about. Send letters. Call people. Meet with friends over video. Take care of yourself. Tip your delivery drivers well. Show your appreciation loudly for people who have to work right now. And thank your mail carriers for all that they are doing to make sure we stay connected.
I don't know about you, but this period has been such a roller coaster for me. Most of us have good days and bad days. Chances are, when you're having a bad day, there's someone there who can help pick you up. Even just a little bit. So don't isolate yourself more than you already are.
Hugh's thread about Emerson's letter writing went totally viral and resulted in so many more people sharing in their love and appreciation for this story and for Emerson's actions. Hopefully, this thread has inspired others to take similar action to spread the love and forge connections. In fact, that's exactly what Hugh thinks you should do.
I don't know about you, but I want to write letters to everyone I know now. And maybe even some people I don't know! How about you? What are you going to do to connect with someone today?