05/27/13 — Mailman makes helping neighbors part of the job

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Mailman makes helping neighbors part of the job

By Josh Ellerbrock
Published in News on May 27, 2013 1:46 PM

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Goldsboro postal carrier George Ardis helps fix a flag pole in the yard of Reba Butts on Florida Street. Ardis said he told the story of fixing the flag as a call to others to do good deeds.

If there is a little old lady in need, Mailman George Ardis will be there -- at least for those on his routes.

"When walking, you really form relationships with the little old ladies living on their own. I've kicked in a back door many times to help the lady who fell and couldn't get up. Let's see email do that. I love being a mailman. There's more to being a mailman than delivering the mail."

Ardis's most recent exploit was fixing the flag pole of Reba Butts, 74, of Goldsboro just in time for Memorial Day.

"I just did it because I felt the need to do it," Ardis said. "Her husband always kept a nice lawn. I knew that back in the day, he had it looking good."

Ms. Butts' husband, Walter Butts, died four years ago. Ms. Butts has a number of medical problems and can't do physical labor. Her daughters aren't handy, and her son-in-laws are usually away driving trucks.

So Ardis stepped in to fulfill the need. First, he approached Ms. Butts, who gave him permission. Then one day last week, he bought some supplies, lowered the old flag and hoisted the new one with a new rope and pulley in place. He retired the old flag with the help of local Boy Scouts.

"The feeling -- it was so awesome to do something like that," Ardis said. "$18 for the flag, $5 for the rope, $3 for the hardware -- the reward I've gotten for it was priceless."

Since sharing the flag replacement on the social media site, Facebook, the story has quickly spread. Ardis said he originally shared it as an inspiration to his three children to do more random acts of kindness. But now, it's become a reaction against a world where neighbors rarely know each other and the simple mailman has been replaced with electronic servers.

"People get all stressed out about 46 cents to deliver a letter, but you're paying for more than just delivering a letter," Ardis said.

Instead, you're paying for someone to keep a lookout while in a neighborhood and to help when needed, he said. Ardis recalled a number of simple niceties he has done for others such as starting lawnmowers and helping with some mild yard work.

"I probably know more about your grandma's house than you do," Ardis said.

Ms. Butts appreciates the help.

"He's a lifesaver to me. He comes by if there's a chair in the yard and picks it up," she said. "I don't have a man in the house. I appreciate someone to fix it for me. I sure thank the Lord. If he sees things that need to be done, he does them. He's sent from heaven for me."

Ardis, 53, has been a mailman for the last 24 years. Before that, he worked as a Goldsboro police officer, and before that, he served in the Navy for more than four years as an electrician.

"I appreciate all the kind words," Ardis said. "For each of all of you that think it's cool, go and do the same thing to see how it makes you feel. It doesn't take much to be nice to somebody."

"That boy," Ms. Butts said. "He's good to everybody."