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Best buddies

Letter carrier, child share special bond

Letter carrier hugs child sitting in a chair.
Springfield, PA, Letter Carrier Bette Stewart embraces Michael Brady, 11, a special customer on her route.

Customers on Bette Stewart’s route greet her with smiles and waves, but there’s one in particular who always brightens her day.

Stewart, a Springfield, PA, letter carrier, has formed a special bond with Michael Brady, an 11-year-old boy who has autism.

The two met a year ago when Michael spotted her in his driveway delivering the mail and gave her an enthusiastic greeting.

“We’ve been buddies ever since,” said Stewart, a 27-year postal employee. “He makes my day. He’s such a sweet guy.”

Michael’s mother, Beth Brady, said Stewart “always goes out of her way” to make her son feel special.

“There were a few days this summer when Michael was off from school. He would yell out for her and she’d walk back to match his enthusiasm,” Brady said. “It was so hot and it just amazed me [that] she’d do that.”

When Michael had surgery in Baltimore last month, Stewart offered to visit him at the hospital on her day off from work.

“I told her it was too far, but that simple gesture touched my heart,” Brady said.

Michael was thinking of Stewart, too, following his surgery.

“He kept asking for Bette and the mail,” Brady said. “The nurses wanted to know who she was.”

Stewart was happy to see her friend when he came home.

“I knew he was tired, but he had that smile on his face and I knew he’d be OK,” she said.

Brady said Michael is primarily non-verbal, but he always calls out his letter carrier’s name when he sees her.

“His favorite word right now is ‘Bette,’” Stewart said.

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