When Conni Smith received her mother’s beautiful sterling silver flatware in the mail, she sat down and cried.
“That’s all that was left of my mom, and she died in 2013,” Smith said. “It just means a lot to have this stUFf.”
The set, which also included two crystal serving dishes, was lost in transit while it made its way to her.
Without a label or bar code, the package landed at a Tallahassee FedEx office. Smith lives in Jacksonville and was unaware that her sister had even mailed her their late mother’s beloved heirloom.
It was up to Robert Skipper, who works for FedEx, to investigate the puzzling package. It’s not the first to arrive without labels.
“When we do our investigations, we try to find any information that ties us to the recipient or the shipper,” he said.
But this mystery package was the trickiest he’s had to trace — and definitely the one of “the most value to someone.”
The card inside the package only included first names — except for a name on the front listed with dates, which he’d later find out was Smith’s mother’s name and birth and death dates.
To get to that point and track down the proper recipient for the heirloom, Skipper did a little digging.
He searched online and found a death certificate that matched the dates written on the card, which Smith’s sister had included with the heirloom when she mailed it. He reached out to the funeral home mentioned on the certificate. Eventually, he was able to track down the intended recipient: Smith.
Skipper couldn’t have imagined how much his efforts would mean to Smith and her family.
“He put a lot of man hours into it and a lot of research — and my family and I will never forget him,” said the 73-year-old Smith, who plans to pass the set down to her son and keep it within the family. “My whole family will always appreciate him. I hope good things happen to him all his life.”
For his sleuthing efforts and delivering the misdirected heirloom last summer, recently Skipper was awarded the FedEx Purple Promise.
“It made me feel really good, especially when Miss Joyce told me to make sure I go home and tell my mother how well she did with raising a child,” said Skipper, referring to Smith’s sister. They both wrote sweet letters to him expressing their gratitude.
“They’re both still thanking me today for what I did.”
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