Carol Stream, IL, Postmaster Carrie Koutsogiannakis finished work one recent Friday evening and was about to leave her office when the phone rang.
The customer on the other end of the line, Sridutt Bhalachandra, urgently needed her help.
Sridutt had spent weeks trying to track down an envelope that contained a government document he needed to begin a job the following Monday. After extensive searching, he finally learned the envelope was at the nearby Carol Stream Processing and Distribution Center.
If Sridutt didn’t get his hands on the document in time, he would lose the job and he and his wife, Apoorva, might have to leave the United States.
“I didn’t know what to do next. We had lost all hope,” said Sridutt, who recently received his doctorate in computer sciences from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill while on a student visa.
As soon as Koutsogiannakis spoke to Sridutt, she understood the gravity of his situation.
“This was his ticket to work in the U.S.,” she said.
Koutsogiannakis jumped into action and conducted an extensive search for the envelope, including searching trays at the Carol Stream plant, one by one.
While she was looking, Sridutt and Apoorva drove to the Carol Stream Post Office. Soon, Koutsogiannakis arrived with the Priority Mail envelope in her hand.
Sridutt hugged Koutsogiannakis. He and Apoorva later sent her flowers.
“If I wasn’t in my office to receive his call, the outcome could have been a whole lot different,” Koutsogiannakis said. “They made me feel like I was their lifesaver.”