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Neighborhood throws retirement party for beloved mailman

James Petty made a lot of friends while delivering mail in the Briargrove Park Neighborhood.

HOUSTON — After 24 years as a USPS mailman, James Petty retired last week, Aug. 27, 2021. The folks on his mail route, threw him quite the party.  They say his countless little acts of kindness made a big difference over the past decade and half.

56-year-old James Petty was the man of the hour. Dozens of Briargrove Park residents, young and old, gathered say goodbye and good luck. It was a sign of their affection for their letter carrier, a constant friendly face in their neighborhood.

“Thirty-four years combined federal service. 24 with the post office, 11 in the military. Briargrove Park the last 14 years,” Petty recalled.

He loved the job, except on rainy days.

“I loved taking care of my customers,” he told KHOU 11.

“Normally I'm a quiet person, but when I’m on that route, I have to be outgoing, because they (customers and children) are gonna engage me everyday," he said.

Among his biggest fans? The littlest kids. They include now-4-year-old Bennet and 6-year-old Miller.

About two years ago, the sister and brother asked if they could help deliver the mail.

“Millie could reach the boxes. Bennet couldn't reach the boxes, so when he got to a box that was too high, I'd pick him up and he'd put the mail in the box,” Petty said.

Beloved mailman gets surprise for retirement

Mr. James, a beloved Houston mailman, is retiring. And at his own goodbye party, he was the one to give gifts ❤️

Posted by The Uplift on Wednesday, September 1, 2021

“Mr. James was good to everyone," said Erin Beckwith, mother to Bennet and Miller. “He knew where everybody's dog lived, too. Somebody told me a story where somebody's dog got out. Mr. James brought the dog back riding in the mail truck.”

So the Briargrove Park neighborhood wanted to deliver him a first class sendoff.  

“I was overwhelmed," Petty said. "I didn't expect so many people. It was kind of a bittersweet. I’m ready to retire but I hate leaving my customers.”

“A lot of people think you have to do some big huge gesture to make a difference," Beckwith said. "Mr. James made a difference in an entire community just because he took the time to be kind. The world needs more Mr. James.”

The little things can say a lot of about the big things.

Happy retirement, Mr. James. He's hoping you get to Vegas eventually and have some fun.