COVID-19: People propping up mailbox lids to protect postal workers

A small act of kindness has gone viral after a London, Ont., woman posted an image showing a stick propping up a mailbox lid. It’s a little way of showing Canada’s postal workers we appreciate them.

All you need is a stick and a mailbox.

A London, Ont., woman’s act of kindness has gone viral after she posted it to social media.

“I did it on my box right away and then posted it, just thinking I could let some of my friends know. Some of my friends even had to say you have to push this public so you can have other people share it. And I was like ‘I don't even know how to do something like that’,” said Melanie Edwards.

Her husband has been a letter carrier with Canada Post for the past two and a half years. He noticed several mailboxes with things propping them open and had mentioned it to his wife.

“The first time I saw it I was like, honestly I didn't know what it was. We see some weird items in mailboxes sometimes that people leave for others, dog leashes stuff like that. I saw it the first time and it was a little confusing and then I saw it the second day and it made so much sense what it was,” said Shawn Edwards.

Shawn Edwards mailbox

SOURCE: Shawn Edwards

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Deemed an essential worker, Shawn still continues to work.

“Shawn and I were just talking about different things that he might be worried about going out and he had mentioned to me that someone was propping their mailbox up, or there were a couple mailbox props, and I thought, I never even thought about it. What a great idea,” said Melanie.

“I remember my friend messaged me at 22 shares and she was saying 'oh it's so big’,” said Melanie. “I think that night it was 25,000,” added Shawn.

People have been posting their pictures of what they are using to keep their mailboxes propped open. Some items include clothespins and chopsticks.

Residents have left personal messages for the carriers to show their appreciation. People have even set up disinfecting stations.

“Actually we do see quite a bit of mailbox letters on mailboxes saying thank you. That's encouraging. It's nice to see those little smiles during a stressful time,” said Shawn.

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Shawn said he has seen some funny things along the way, making for much-needed laughter.

“It's funny. It was a pandemic survey, yes or no column. The question was do you think Carol Baskin killed her husband,” said Shawn.


Canada Post has had to modify the way they make deliveries, posting on their website:

“To eliminate customer interactions at the door, reduce post office customer traffic and support social & physical distancing, we have implemented a Knock, Drop and Go approach. Delivery employees will knock or ring, choose the safest location available to leave the item and then depart for the next address. This change eliminates the need for signatures at the door and greatly reduces the number of parcels sent to our post offices for pick-up.”

Shawn says his company is providing them with latex gloves and sanitizers.

“What our union reps are doing is, every time we come back to the depot we have a set of keys, we put them in a bin. They sanitize them now, spray them before they go in their cubby hole where they go for the end of the shift,” he said. “They're also wiping down doorknobs of all vehicles, the gear shifters the steering wheels. They are really stepping up to take some extra precautionary measures.”

The couple said the post on social media has gotten positive responses but also lots of questions.

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“We did see a lot of comments on the post about what if it's raining or snowing? I understand Canada is a big country, and this time of year you're going to get a lot of different weather patterns so it's definitely a weather-dependent courtesy,” said Shawn

“We had a lot of people messaging us asking me questions: Could you ask your husband what I should I do if... this happens? Or it's raining or snowing, what should I do,” said Melanie.

In the end, it’s a simple thing those with mailboxes can do.

“It doesn't cost a thing. You can get any item to prop it up and it just eliminates one more item that we could touch. Not just for our safety, we could have it too and we not know it and it's for the client's safety and for ours as well,” said Shawn.