The U.S. Postal Service and Letters to God


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My loyalty work has me thinking a lot these days about “customer credit” and how firms can best get the customer credit they’re due for the hard fought value they deliver. Bottom line, it’s tough out there. The market has a long memory and old perceptions die hard. Just ask the U.S. Postal Service and the credit they receive when responding to their customers’ letters to God.

Letter #1
(Written by a mom near Houston and circulating on the Internet.)

“Our 14 year old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4 year old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could, so she dictated these words:

Dear God,
Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick. I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.
Love, Meredith

We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven.

That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had. Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, ‘To Meredith’ in an unfamiliar hand.

Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, ‘When a Pet Dies.’ Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:”

Dear Meredith,
Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away. Abbey isn’t sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don’t need our bodies in heaven, I don’t have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.

Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I am wherever there is love.
Love, God

Letter #2
(Also circulating on the Internet.)

There was this fellow who worked for US Postal Service whose job it was to process all mail that had illegible addresses. One day a letter came to his desk, addressed in a shaky handwriting to God. He thought, “Oh boy, better open this one and see what it’s all about.” So he opened it and read:

“Dear God,
I am an 83 year old widow living on a very small pension. Yesterday someone stole my purse. It had 100 dollars in it which was all the money I had until my next pension check. Next Sunday is Easter, and I had invited two of my friends over for dinner. Without that money, I have nothing to buy food with. I have no family to turn to, and you are my only hope. Can you please help me?”

The postal worker was touched, and went around showing the letter to all the others. Each of them dug into his wallet and came up with a few dollars. By the time he made the rounds, he had collected 96 dollars, which they put into an envelope and sent over to her.

The rest of the day, all the workers felt a warm glow thinking of the nice thing they had done. Easter came and went, and a few days later came another letter from the old lady to God.

All the workers gathered around while the letter was opened. It read:

“Dear God,
How can I ever thank you enough for what you did for me? Because of your generosity, I was able to fix a lovely dinner for my friends. We had a very nice day, and I told my friends of your wonderful gift. By the way, there was 4 dollars missing. I think it must have been those thieving pricks at the Post Office.”

Loyalty Lesson: Getting customer credit for your labors is fraught with the unexpected. It helps to find the humor in the circumstances and have a good chuckle! “No good deed goes unpunished…” Right?

Now, for the real nitty-gritty…

…Keep fighting the good fight! Keep delivering for customers! Naysayers and cynics are everywhere. But so are the Merediths. We win the customer loyalty challenge one good deed, and one ‘converted’ believer, at a time.


  1. Jill –

    Loved the yin and yang of the stories. This is a great example of both unmanaged customer advocacy and unmanaged customer sabotage.

    Companies have tremendous opportunities to build customer equity and relationship accounts by leveraging these positive stories through CGM (customer-generated media), and acting to prevent or minimize the negative ones in the same manner. Those organizations that are willing to dive into the deep end of the neural communication pool, and begin investing in and managing advocacy from the inside-out and outside-in, are certainly going to reap the rewards. Heaven, as we know, helps those who help themselves.

    Michael Lowenstein, PhD CMC
    Vice President and Senior Consultant
    Harris Interactive Loyalty

  2. Michael

    WOM is created, transmitted and received in customer social networks largely outside the influence of management. ‘Management’ with its negligible understanding of customers and limited interest in them should be careful trying to manage anything as ephemeral as WOM.

    Graham Hill
    Independent CRM Consultant
    Interim CRM Manager

  3. Jill Griffin

    Mike and Graham, thanks for the feedback. And Mike, congrats on your PhD. Great accomplishment!!! JILL

  4. I would love to have more information about this little girl. I think that someone so young should’t have to deal with this kind of heartache. I want to send Meredith a new, warm, fuzzy, little puppy to help heal her heart. I know that no dog will replace her beloved Abbey, but a new puppy can help open her heart to new happiness. If there is anyone that knows the family and can give them my information, I’ll be happy to make sure that Meredith experiences the joy of a new pup.

    Cathy Ott
    San Angelo, Texas


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