Grace Flannery has admired letter carriers since she was a child.
The 21-year-old Cincinnati resident, who has Down syndrome, has “always liked watching [carriers] and going to get the mail,” her father, Michael, said.
He recently contacted his local Postal Service facility, Westwood Station, to ask if Grace could deliver mail for a day.
Employees were all too happy to help.
“He wanted to highlight not her disability, but her ability to work,” said Postmaster Karen Garber, who knew the ideal letter carrier for Grace to shadow: Melissa Tilton, who uses a prosthetic arm.
Grace spent a day at Tilton’s side as she delivered mail on her route, where some customers waited outside to greet them.
“They were excited for her and were amazed at how well she was doing,” Tilton said. “It renewed my drive and determination.”
Other employees pitched in, too.
Larry Hawkins, a Westwood Station customer services supervisor, made sure the facility was in order on the day of Grace’s visit. Carl Lane, an acting customer services manager from the nearby Corryville, OH, Post Office, placed welcome signs along Tilton’s route and ensured the deliveries went smoothly.
Grace loved everything about the job.
“My favorite part was the sorting and delivery,” she said.
Michael said Grace “nailed” every task she was given. “I was impressed with seeing her do something I didn’t teach her to do, and do it well,” he said.
Grace didn’t just inspire her dad, though.
Tilton said helping the young woman “meant a lot to me. I find challenges, too, and USPS has worked with me to help do the job.”
Garber called the experience “one of the highlights of my career.”
Grace hopes to find a job where she can continue delivering mail.
“I want to do this again,” she said. “I feel great, I feel proud and I feel confident.”