Jimmy Gets Mail

A special delivery of love in Chehalis, Washington.

Oct 19, 2020
Jimmy Gets Mail A special delivery of love in Chehalis, Washington.

One hand-written letter that is sealed, stamped, and travels many miles touches the heart in a special way. Here is a simple story where many letters reach out from hand to heart, reverberating love and joy.

Jimmy Armfield is 72 years old. He lives in a quiet, small town called Chehalis in Washington State. Jimmy enjoys tacos and karaoke, but he especially loves getting mail, according to Lewis Talk. His mailbox was usually empty – until a friend performed some social media magic – and PO Box 493 began to overflow with letters of love.

Well known to the locals of Chehalis, Jimmy is seen around town riding the bus, chatting with neighbors, and attending church. Yet these pleasures have been taken away in the past few months, leaving Jimmy feeling a bit lonely. He has been spending his time at the local post office, patiently waiting on the steps for mail.

Susan Gonzalez saw him sitting there one day and when she inquired about him, the postal workers said he comes in three times a day and often waits for hours, just in case a letter arrives. Nothing came.

She wrote on Facebook, “Today, I came into the post office on my way to work and Jimmy was sitting on the stairs by the mailboxes. I asked him what he was doing and if he was OK. He said ‘I’m just waiting for the mail.’ It was 8:05. The mail gets delivered by 10 o’clock. I told him it would be about two hours, he said that was just fine.”

In this Facebook post, she asked her friends to send Jimmy a note in the mail. That was on August 21. Within hours, the post went viral with 9,900 shares. People started sending letters and postcards from all over the world, and from as far away as Hawaii and Australia.

“People ask how I got this to work but really it’s the magic of Jimmy,” Gonzalez told Lewis Talk. “It’s really mind boggling that it went viral in like six hours and we don’t know why. It went like gangbusters.”

There was so much mail to pick up, Susan’s husband Gene met Jimmy at the post office to help him take it all home. Susan would read the hand-written messages on the cards to Jimmy and she even set up a Facebook page for him called Meet Jimmy.

As the love continued to pour in, Jimmy was receiving about 200 letters a day, plus 20 to 30 parcels, according to Komo News. Among his many gifts, he received a wagon to help him pull the masses of letters and parcels home. Jimmy was beaming, the postal workers were overjoyed to be a part of this magic, and the whole town of Chehalis was uplifted.

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Like many others in these times, Jimmy was “navigating the space between loneliness and happiness,” Komo News wrote. As it turns out, there is a lot of love out there, more than enough to breach loneliness.

Gonzalez explained that there are amazing ways to bless people. At the end of the Facebook post that became viral, she requested, “Send Jimmy a birthday card, a little note just to say hello from your hometown. It can be simple, anything for him to open over the next few weeks. Maybe you are too busy now but you can remember Jimmy at Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas.”

The resulting outpouring of love, generosity, and joy could be the magic of Jimmy and the positive power of social media. Yet Komo News takes this message further. “Taking care of our own, maybe it's not just a Chehalis thing. Maybe it's a human being thing. Maybe the whole world is bursting at the seams. Looking for ways to make other people happy.”

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NICOLE NATHAN BEM, CONTRIBUTOR
Nicole is an editor, blogger and author who has recently left her urban life in order to be more connected with nature. In her spare time, she’s outdoors hiking in the forest, mountain biking or tending to her new permaculture garden.