PORT ALLEN, LA (WAFB) - Think about it. You write a letter to a friend in New York City. You want the letter to arrive in just a couple of days and you're only willing to pay someone 49 cents to bring it there for you. Who in their right mind would do that?
That's exactly what the U.S. Postal Service does every single day, delivering in some places seven days a week. Local mail delivery men and women stuff our mail boxes in rain, snow, sleet, hail and scorching Louisiana heat; and seldom, if ever, do you see them without a big, bright smile. Mail delivery people are truly special people.
However, when Shannon Howard in Port Allen told me the story of her mail lady, I knew this was one extra special lady I just had to meet.
You see, Shannon's mail lady goes above and beyond just delivering mail. She brings candy and other treats to the neighborhood children on her route which includes Franklin Street, Maryland Street and several others in Port Allen.
So we took our Hand It On crew to Port Allen and 'camped out' in Shannon's house one afternoon and waited for "Miss Myra," as the kids call her, to make her rounds. Shannon had been given our Hand It On cash to surprise Miss Myra for all she does for the community.
"She's always on time," Shannon explained, as we peered through the window blinds. "3:34 every single afternoon, on the dot".
We waited, but not for long! At exactly 3:34, up drives Miss Myra in her white mail truck with those familiar USPS blue and red stripes and the steering wheel on the wrong side, and out poured all the neighborhood kids to receive their long awaited prizes. Miss Myra didn't disappoint.
Along with Entergy bills, letters from Aunt Barbara and flyers from Bed, Bath & Beyond, Miss Myra stuffed the hands of eagerly awaiting young-uns
with sweets of all kinds. But amongst the neighborhood children was Shannon Howard with $300 cash from WAFB's Hand It On.
"Miss Myra, I like everything you've been doing for the kids and I called WAFB to let them know about what you do, and we have $300 dollars for you to do whatever you like!" Shannon said.
With our cameras rolling, Miss Myra finally squeaked out, "You got me! You really, really got me!"
Shannon said she saw Myra in the convenience store recently buying candy and things out of her own money and it touched her heart.
"She's been passing here for over a year, and it's not just my kids," Shannon explained. "It's other kids on the other streets too. My husband said we ought to call Hand It On. So I emailed you and you called me back!"
Myra has been delivering mail for fourteen years in Lake Charles, Baton Rouge and now Port Allen. After fourteen years she still greets everyone on her route with a huge smile and friendly, warm conversation.
"I love kids," Myra said. "My kids are in El Paso, Texas. My son is in the military. So I get to see 'em maybe once a year. I love my job. I love the people. I really do. That's the main thing: the people."
Shannon did not miss the opportunity to use this encounter as a teaching moment.
"Well my kids look forward to it, and it lets them know that there are positive people in the world," Shannon said with authority.
Shannon, there are indeed; yourself among them!
Hand It On airs every Wednesday night during WAFB's 9News at 10. To nominate ordinary people making extraordinary contributions in the community, send an e-mail to HandItOn@WAFB.com. Remember to include your name and contact information!