I’ve never been so lost within 15 minutes of my home as I was this week trying to find a particular post office. It was one of those “this should take no more than a half hour out of my day” to a full-out adventure, meeting some great people along the way. And with two kids in tow, stress was high, but laughs were abundant.
It began so simply. I signed up for a PO Box for my business. I went online and instead of renting a box at the post office closest to my house (because it’s on-street parking with meters and always really crowded) I opted for another post office a few miles further where the box was a little cheaper and I knew it would be easier to park and get the kiddos in and out.
I hadn’t been to the location before, but I’ve never put an address into Google Maps and not found it, so I didn’t think about it twice.
I packed up my kids and we started out. I put the address in and it brought up a post office which then said “permanently closed.” WHAT??? I know Google is silly sometimes, so I brushed it off as a mistake and started the trek. I paid a fee through the USPS website for the box, so I was pretty sure the post office was real.
I found it odd the way maps was taking me, but I followed it anyway. 15 minutes later and I was “at my destination” staring at a parking lot. Awesome. Maybe this post office didn’t actually exist?
I realized I was only 2 miles from my regular post office, so I decided to stop there and see if they could help.
I found a parking spot in front (bonus), got the kids out (baby carrier and all) and went in. Mind you, it’s 90 degrees, as well.
Luckily, no one was in line and we got right in. I talked to the lovely woman working there, explained the situation, and after making a call, she told me I could just get a box there if I wanted to and go online and cancel the other one. I realized the call she made was to the “other” post office and they did, in fact, exist! I told her I would rather go to the other office since I’d already paid, but the location wasn’t coming up in Google.
She took me and the kiddos into her office so I could talk to the woman on the phone working at the place I was trying to get to. I realized the address I had put in was for one town and there was another street with that same name in the next town over.
Now, I’m horrible at directions, unless it’s by landmarks. I was trying to listen while making sure my 5-year-old wasn’t taking all the lollipops offered to him out of the woman’s hand, which he did. (She was giving him flavor choices, he just took all three) and I was trying to get the baby his binky so he wasn’t fussy.
I heard a few landmarks and road names and figured I’d punch one of those into Maps and find my way. I thanked the woman for all her help and we headed back into the heat, back into the car.
Exit Post Office #1.
I plugged in one of the roads she told me and it came up. About 15 minutes away. Ok, perfect. We drove along, but when we got to the end of the road on my Maps and I tried to type in post office nearby, NOTHING came up. I had to make a decision, left or right. I chose right. (I chose wrong).
We drove up the wrong road and I realized I knew exactly where I was, but still had no idea where the post office could be. I tried to type it in again and one came up (not the original address, but one of the roads I remembered hearing on the phone) so I went for that. About 5 minutes away, this had to be it! My son and I were laughing like crazy at this point.
Post Office #2. We pull into the lot, I get the kiddos out once more, sweating, carrying the baby carrier, and head inside. I told the woman working, “We just talked on the phone about how to get here…” And she said, “Nope, you are probably looking for “other post office.”
“YES, yes I am. WHERE IS IT???”
She told me it was about three miles down the road. Baby is now really fussy. But we are so close. So close! I started writing this post in my head at that moment.
She told me I would have to turn on a certain lane and that the road sign was covered by a tree, so watch for it. I thanked her for all her help and again, back in the heat, back in the car.
Three miles later, I saw the lane! Success. We made the turn and at the end of the road, I realized I was so focused on getting to that lane, I couldn’t remember left or right at the end of it. I chose right. (I chose right!)
The post office was nestled at the bottom of that street. It was the most beautiful sight I’d ever seen. Kiddos back out of the car for Post Office #3 and third time’s a charm. The woman inside was extremely sweet and we had a nice conversation about me not being able to find the location.
She said other people had mentioned that happening and she had no idea how to “change Google.” We had a good laugh and conversation. Enter lollipop #4.
I got the keys to my box, thanked yet another kind soul I met on this journey, and got the kiddos back in the car. I was only fifteen minutes from my house at this point. I’m amazed at how close I was, yet how lost I felt.
All told, we were gone about an hour and a half. Such a simple errand that turned into an adventure. My five-year old thought it was super fun to see all the post offices and get so many treats. Now every time we get in the car it’s, “Mommy, remember when you kept going the wrong way?” Followed by intense giggling. And I find myself giggling right along with him. It was pretty hilarious.
I’m thankful for all the kindness from every single person we met. And hey, I got a blog out of it, right? And a PO Box!
I’ve learned that when technology terribly fails, it’s people that come through. If I would have called the post office before I left and asked for directions, this never would have happened. I’ll think about that next time I need to research something, or ask a question, or get a quote. Online may be convenient, but people give you the human connection and kindness that technology never can.