For all the scrutiny the United States Postal Service has been under lately, it still offers a remarkable deal.
For less than a dollar, the Post Office will deliver your envelope to any address in the U.S. in a matter of days. Of course, if a letter took years to get there, that would be a problem.
Or maybe not.
One letter that landed in a Livermore mailbox last month took a decade to get there. Kimbrely Gruidl says it's not a problem, "it's a blessing."
On the day in question, Kim says she pulled the blue envelope out from among a stack of mail she and her husband, Kevin, had received.
"My heart stopped," Kim said. " This is from my dad."
The letter, from Kim's father Dennis, had been mailed back in 2011. Dennis died in 2016.
"I thought how can this be?" Kim said. "He’s be gone five years."
"It was a greeting card," Kevin Gruidl, to whom the letter was addressed, said. "Telling me congratulations on my new job. Which I got ten years ago."
There was also a hand-written note, a $50 check and a $25 gift card to Outback Steakhouse.
The first thing Kim did was post a question on a local Facebook group asking if anyone else had recently received old mail. No one had.
It was after reading all the comments of those who wished they had, though, that Gruidl realized how special this delivery was.
"It's one more conversation with my dad," Kim said. "How blessed to have that five years later."
A spokesperson for the post office said they didn't know why the Gruidl letter was so delayed. It is not unheard of for a letter to fall through a crack only to be discovered years later when a building is sold or a piece of machinery moved.
No matter how many years have elapsed, the letter always gets delivered.
So, while the mystery of the Gruidl letter remains unsolved, the meaning of it all to Kim is quite clear. Sending kind and supportive notes was exactly the kind of thing Dennis did while he was alive. Being reminded of that all these years later is what turned the letter into a gift.