This is a story we love about the U.S. Postal Service this time of year.
A few days ago, the University of Chicago received a brown paper package tied with string and addressed to Henry Walton Jones Jr., University of Chicago, 1101 E. 58th St., Chicago, Illonois. Yes, the state’s name was misspelled. There was no actual postage, but photocopied versions of old stamps were pasted on the package.
An astute student recognized the name as that of the fictional movie character Indiana Jones. The package contained a detailed, handmade diary purported to be that of Abner Ravenwood, a university professor in “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
Puzzled university officials contacted movie producer George Lucas but were told this was not a publicity stunt. Then they found a man on the Internet – “Paul from Guam” – who fabricates elaborate documents for clients around the world. He had sold the fake diary, dusty and covered with real fabric and complete with fake currency and maps, for $177.50 to someone in Italy, but it had fallen out of the envelope in Hawaii.
Paul from Guam got a personal letter from Paul Tobosa, a customer service representative for claims and inquiry from the U.S. Postal Service in Honolulu. The letter wasn’t very clear but advised that the post office had found the empty envelope. The letter, addressed to “valued customers,” advised calling or faxing with a detailed description of the missing contents.
The letter said: “I recommend call or fax with photos to initiate.” Also, the “valued customers” were to email or scan with any attachments, complete the MRC search form and mail to us. The letter emphasized “MRC will not contact you if no item is found. They will mail item to Maker or Addressee. Take care and Aloha.”
Bottom line is that the Post Office ignored the fact that there was no actual postage and delivered the diary intact to the University of Chicago.
According to the university, Paul from Guam said he would make another copy of the fake diary for his client in Italy and told the university to keep the copy it received. The university said the diary will be placed in its Oriental Institute.
No word yet if Paul from Guam will receive reimbursement for the $200 his replicas cost. The post office wrote: “Also, let the other party know what had happened to your item (in regards to a replacement, refunds or claims) and take photos of your empty pkg for your files.”
We can only ponder where our missing Christmas card to Aunt Sally landed.