This week I received a letter in the mail that made me want to hug a mailman. When I was a kid, I used to revere the people who delivered my mail. I held them in such high regard that I even wrote notes on the outside of my envelopes that said “Thank you! Thank you Mr. Mailman!”.
This week, the mailman was once again my hero. There I was in my apartment in San Francisco about two weeks before Project Pengyou’s beta launch. I had been hunched over at my desk alone for 18 hours, my eyes were bloodshot with fatigue. I was furiously attending to hundreds of work emails to coordinate our launch, when my roommate walked in and said “Hey, you got a letter.”
The envelope had no return address other than “The Secretary of State, Washington, D.C.”. When I realized what it was, all of my stress and anxiety turned into light-headed euphoria. My heart started to beat super fast as I slowly opened the envelope with restraint, taking care not to make any “ugly tears”, and pulled out the paper inside.
After reading the letter and seeing the hand-written signature from our one and only Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, I jumped to my feet and did a little dance in the privacy of my room. Then I ran over to my roommate and made him read the letter in its entirety. Then he did a little dance and we hugged and high-fived. Then we both put on our coats and ran down the street and bought ourselves a celebratory drink.
It’s funny how a few words on a piece of paper can make such a difference in our journeys. In the downpour of a thousand emails and the minutiae of tedious tasks, the support letter from Hillary Clinton gave me a jolt of clarity about our bigger task at hand. That night, I went back to staring at my laptop screen for many straight hours, but whenever I got too tired to go on, I stopped and read the letter again.