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A Federal Employee Helping Others With Her Own Money

Perhaps it is a “small-town value” that emanates from knowing your neighbors or, perhaps, some people just feel for others. This federal employee was concerned enough to write a personal check for hundreds of dollars to an elderly customer who was out of money.

Bancroft, WV, is a small community of 375 residents, and although many customers do their postal business online at, Officer-in-Charge Masel Brown says several customers come in to the Post Office every day.

"I have an elderly customer who visits me often," said Brown. "One morning she came into the office rather distraught and told me she had mistakenly written a check for $697, leaving her with a mere $25 to survive on for the month."

Neighbors bring her lunch, says Brown, but the customer doesn’t have any close-by family members to help her. "So I wrote her a check for $650.

"When I gave her the check, she cried," Brown said.

But the generosity didn’t stop there. Another customer overheard the conversation and went out and bought the woman $500 in groceries. "I was shocked that this woman would buy groceries for someone she had just met," she said.

"My daughter told me I was trying to buy my way into heaven," she said with a laugh. "I’d say there’s a lot of that going around in this little town."

About the Author

Marilyn Jones has been a journalist for more than 30 years and is currently a freelance feature writer specializing in travel. Her articles have appeared in major newspapers including the BostonGlobe, Akron Beacon Journal and Chicago Sun-Times as well as regional travel magazines.

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