Christmas card story

Every year I send a few Christmas cards … the good old fold-in-half
bits of cardboard with a Christmas scene pictured on the front that you
put in an envelope and stick on a stamp. I haven’t yet resorted to an
electronic alternative and only on a couple of occasions have I written
the here’s-what-we’ve-been-doing in 200X letter … mind you having a
blog probably stands well in its place.

Aaaaaanyway, this year, imagine my excitement when I realised we were
going to be in New York right on the time of year to write and send
Christmas cards. I decided well before we went that I wanted take the
Christmas card list, get New York cards and U.S. stamps and post them
from New York. Step 1, 2 and 3 planned and executed. The posting bit
was a bit of a challenge. I wanted to post the cards in December, which
meant the day we left. I scanned Times Square (not an easy feat given
the crowds normally there) on Monday morning when we were out for
breakfast but no sign of a post box. We had to get to the airport so I
thought I could just post them from there. They’d still have a New York
post mark. Alas, no post box at JFK. Bugger. So I carried them in my
hand bag on the plane to post at Los Angeles – surely LAX would have a
post box or post office – we were still flying domestically then – all
those movie starts hopping on the plane in LA must surely be posting
stuff to fans or paying parking tickets (or whatever else you can do at
the post office) or at least have their staff do it.

Upon arrival at LAX I noticed a directory listing in the loos and YES,
there was a post office in the domestic terminal. Because of a problem
with our LA to Auckland seats I broke my own rule of ‘if you remember
to do something or see where to do it you should do it right away in
case you forget later or don’t get the chance again’ assuming that one
post office meant the presence of post boxes in other parts of the
airport. Not a good assumption. No post box in the international
terminal. “For security reasons’ the Air NZ check-in woman told us. We
had 3 hours to fill in so we walked back over to the domestic terminal.
No post box there either, and no sight of the mysterious post office.
Until I remembered that it said ‘Departures Hall’ – I now realise than
meant on the flying side of security, not the ground side. So now we
were on the ground side there was no way of going through security to
get back. God. My beautiful Christmas cards, all with messages from New
York with US$10 worth of stamps on them … I was going to have to cart
them all the way back to New Zealand, take them out of their envelopes
and post them from Wellington. The lovely Mister sensing my distress
approached the nearest security/customs officer checking passports as
you went through to be stripped and screened to cross over to the
flying side and asked if there was a post box in the airport. No. My
‘Oh’ and crestfallen look at my handful of Christmas cards must have
adequately represented my distress. She (the customs person) said
“Would you like me to post something for you on my way home tonight?”
Ommigod! Would you? Would you really? “Of course. What is it? Are they
all stamped?” Yes YES. I fanned them all out and lifted one up to show
both sides so that she could see it was a harmless Christmas card with
correct postage. “Leave them with me. I drive right by the post office
on my way home. It’s no problem.” Fantastic. And Happy Holidays to you.

I couldn’t believe it! Leaving mysterious white envelopes with someone
at the airport I would’ve thought was a definite no no. And I
wouldn’t’ve thought customs/security guards would encourage it.
However, she took the little red box the cards were in and popped it up
on the bench near where she was checking people’s passports and wished
up happy travels. To be honest, I had no idea whether she’d remember to
pick them up again or whether she’d bin them thinking that she was just
playing along but in her mind was really thwarting a terrorist event. I
wondered for days.

And then yesterday, I had 3 elated thank yous from friends in New
Zealand, the States and Switzerland that they received a lovely
Christmas card from me. So she did it! That lovely lady actually went
out of her way to drive by the post office on her way home and post my
cards. I have no idea who she is and how to thank her but I am
thrilled. These acts of human kindness make up for all those dicks out
there – you know who you are the drunken idiots throwing beer bottes
off our apartment building on Saturday night and the drongos that have
been trekking up to the top of Mum and Dad’s property over the last few
weeks and bit by bit destroying and stealing the trigg station (that’s
right, a trigg station. If you’ve ever seen one up close then you know
they are enormous and not easy to take away and anyway, why the HELL
would you?).

And if you didn’t receive a lovely Christmas card from me, don’t worry.
There is a list and you’re probably not on it. It’s a relatively closed
list, quite small, and there are criteria to get on it – the main one
being that you don’t live in Wellington (Kaitoke counts as outside of
Wellington!) and I don’t typically see you around Christmas.

2 comments ↓

#1 Basel Lisa on 12.09.08 at 7:14 pm

I’ve got a lump in my throat! What a lovely Christmas story. Restores my faith in humankind… 🙂

#2 Jolene on 12.10.08 at 4:00 pm

I was WONDERING about the LA post mark!! Thank you so much for the lovely surprise. It was so nice of that woman to post those for you! (o:

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