Earlier this week, we shared the story of a postal worker who paid the postage due for letters a private in basic training was mailing home to his family.
Lisa Gafkjen’s 19-year-old son Tayder is at Fort Jackson in South Carolina training for the North Dakota Army National Guard.
“I’m pretty attached to my boys. And so sending him off on that plane in Bismarck when he was first leaving, I think I’ve been emotional since then,” said Gafkjen.
So she looks forward to the little things…like receiving the first batch of letters Tayder mailed home to his family.
“I read his part first and it said he hadn’t gone to the store yet to get more stamps. And then it just says ‘Love you Mom, Jared, and Cutter.’ Well, below I saw the highlighted part. And it said ‘Thank you for protecting my freedom’, and I’m like who would have wrote that on there?” Gafkjen told KX News in an interview through Zoom. “And then I followed the arrow that was drawn to it and I noticed it was marked ‘Postage Due’ and it said paid by window clerk. She wrote ‘$3.67. Very small price for me to pay’ and I just started crying. It just, it really touched my mom heart,” said Gafkjen.
She wanted to personally thank the good Samaritan, but had no idea who was behind the kind gesture.
“I don’t know if it happened in South Carolina or in Williston or somewhere in between. So I have no idea. I would love to know,” Gafkjen told us.
We were curious ourselves so we reached out to USPS. A spokesperson for the Postal Service helped us track the window clerk down. Brenda Riedel works at the Williston post office and paid the postage due on Tayder’s letters when she saw he was a little short.
“What you did was so cool. I mean that really meant a lot and it was very special to me and my family. And I can’t wait to tell Tayder about it,” Gafkjen told Riedel through a virtual meeting.
“Oh, that blesses my heart. It really does,” Riedel said. “You know what, I think we should be doing more kind things. We’re in a world of hurt right now and if we can just make somebody happy or bring a bit of kindness to their world. Why not? It’s so easy,” Riedel said.
And perhaps this single act of kindness has inspired even more. Gafkjen says she got a Facebook message from a woman in Maine who she doesn’t know. “She had seen my post and she messaged me and asked me for his address because she wanted to send him stamps. And she’s a retired postal worker,” Gafkjen said.
A reminder to all of us that the small things can go a long way.
“You know, Brenda,” Gafkjen said, “you really brought to light that kindness can really have a huge impact in just the littlest way and we shouldn’t take it for granted. And we should pass it forward more often than we do. And thank you for reminding us of that.”
“I can’t wait to meet you at the window, Lisa,” Riedel told her.
“Oh, I’ll definitely be looking for you,” Gafkjen replied.