The other day at around 9 AM, I went to the neighbourhood Post Office to send some fancy face masks by Speed Post to my daughter in Kolkata. These masks had been placed inside an envelope which was secured on all its sides by masking tape. On handing over the packet at the counter, I found the  official carefully scrutinising it. He kept turning it on one face and on the other several times for a few minutes which left me wondering as to what the problem was.

Just when I was about to ask him, he indicated that the envelope appeared to be too thin, and that there was a risk of it tearing due to the weight of other accompanying postal articles during transit. Even before he said this, sensing that something must be amiss, I had mentally prepared myself to take the article back and return on another day, as I did not relish the idea of coming back again on the same day in the biting cold of Delhi. However, before I could ask for it to be returned, or even make a gesture to this effect, he told me to wait for a while.  After searching for some time behind his desk, he took out a roll of cellotape, and wound this tape in several layers across the vulnerable areas of the packet. Having done this he quietly went ahead with the booking.

I was so impressed by the gesture of this gentleman that I profusely thanked him for his understanding and kindness towards me. His matter of fact reply completely caught me off guard. “Sir, I treat every customer as my family member”.  I could not but help remark to him that I wish more officials like him exhibited such courtesy while dealing with the public.  Instead of choosing the easy option of rejecting my packet on account of its insecure packing, he took the pains to see what could be done with the resources available at his disposal. I could not but help wondering as to how many public officials would go out of their way in a similar manner to proactively help a customer like this humble official of the Post Office. 

I left the Post Office that morning inspired by this experience, and took a silent vow to always be sensitive to the needs of others, and to do my best to extend a helping hand to anyone in need.

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Subrata Lahiri

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