Meghan Henriques-Parker had no idea she was about to change her grandfather’s life when she visited him recently at the nursing home where he lives.
As her grandfather, Jim Gaboardi, an 89-year-old retired Danbury, CT, letter carrier, watched other residents receive mail, he turned to her and said, “It’s been a long time since I’ve received any mail.”
Henriques-Parker knew Gaboardi’s dementia was getting worse and vowed that the man who had delivered mail for 45 years would soon touch it again.
She posted a request on Facebook, asking friends to send cards and letters to Gaboardi to lift his spirits.
Before long, hundreds of mailpieces began arriving at his nursing home.
Among the well-wishers were some of Gaboardi’s former customers and co-workers who included photos from his postal days to help jog his memory.
Referring to the busy holiday season, one former colleague wrote: “I have 75 parcels on the truck. Remember that, Jim?”
A onetime customer wrote: “You would always stop and buy lemonade from my stand.”
Receiving mail again helped, said Henriques-Parker.
“He visited for Christmas and spent hours talking with family like he used to,” she said. “He was our Christmas miracle.”
Cards and letters are still arriving, including messages from the children of Gaboardi’s former co-workers.
Henriques-Parker is displaying the mail around her grandfather’s room.
“It’s what’s keeping him going,” she said.
Henriques-Parker hopes Gaboardi’s story can inspire other families.
“Something as small as getting mail can go a long way,” she said.
Henriques-Parker has shared Gaboardi’s mailing address on social media for those who wish to write to him: Maplewood at Stony Hill, Attn: Jim Gaboardi, 46 Stony Hill Rd, Bethel, CT 06801.