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Woman with Down syndrome becomes mail carrier for a day, fulfilling childhood dream

Woman with Down syndrome becomes mail carrier for a day, fulfilling childhood dream

Grace Flannery, 21, a woman with Down syndrome, became a mail carrier for a day. (Photo: Courtesy of Michael Flannery)

A woman with Down syndrome became a mail carrier — a life-long ambition — for a day thanks to the United States Postal Service.

Grace Flannery of Cincinnati, Ohio, has admired postal workers since she was a little girl. “I’m good at finding addresses and different roads,” the 21-year-old tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

The Westwood Post Office extended a one-day offer for Grace to join its mail route, and on Tuesday, she suited up in a light blue button-down shirt and navy shorts made by her grandmother. Then, Grace joined letter carrier Melissa Tilton for the morning shift.

“I’m gonna say my name and I’ll shake their hands, and I’ll look them directly in the eye,” said Grace, according to WKRC.

Tilton was thrilled to have the company. “When I heard Grace wanted to come along, I said, ‘Of course!’” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

During the four-hour shift, Tilton and Grace sorted letters at the post office, placed them into bags, and loaded them onto a mail truck. Later, they drove to a designated neighborhood, parking at the end of one street and delivering to each home in the 90-degree heat.

USPS worker Melissa Tilton and her intern Grace Flannery delivered mail around Cincinnati, fulfilling Grace's childhood dream. (Photo: Courtesy of Michael Flannery)
USPS worker Melissa Tilton and her intern Grace Flannery delivered mail around Cincinnati, fulfilling Grace’s childhood dream. (Photo: Courtesy of Michael Flannery)

“Grace’s attention to detail was spot-on — she did a great job matching the addresses on the letters to the correct homes. We need more carriers with her focus,” Tilton tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

She also wasn’t shy, introducing herself to everyone in her path. One of her favorite moments was meeting a dog named Jay, Grace tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

Grace already has mail experience — she had a paper route in high school and an internship at Children’s Hospital, where she delivered packages to 32 different departments in five different buildings.

The USPS gig will hopefully land her a full-time job, delivering mail internally at a company. “She’s always looking for experience,” Grace’s father Michael Flannery tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

USPS did not hesitate to make Grace’s ambitions a reality. A spokesperson tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “It was a great day having her carry mail for us, and Melissa was so, so happy today.”

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