Amy Gibbs knows a little customer appreciation goes a long way.
The USPS strategic communications specialist picked up a cheery card at Grand Central Terminal Post Office in Manhattan, put heartfelt pen to paper, affixed a Forever stamp to the envelope and addressed it to a high-profile resident in her Connecticut District who’s a big Postal Service booster.
“To Sharpy,” she wrote in elaborate print.
Sharpy — whose image could also be found in the northeast corner of the envelope — is an American Mammoth Jackstock donkey, one of 10 animals featured on the recently released Heritage Breeds stamps.
Gibbs explained that she wanted to thank the breed mascot “for being such a superstar for the Postal Service and let him know how handsome he looked on the stamp.”
She was assisted in her mission by the Guilford, CT, Post Office and by Rural Carrier Albert Pallotto, a 30-year USPS veteran who was delighted to do the honors at the only farm on his route.
Sharpy seemed to take all the human fuss in stride. He’s used to it.
Kimberly Brockett, co-owner of Tripledale Farm with husband Michael Cappelli, recently told the Middletown Press that Sharpy and a few others of his breed are taken for frequent “agritainment” visits — pageants, parades, petting zoos — to educate people and “dispel myths.”
“Most people think donkeys are mean and stubborn and they really are the opposite,” she said. “They’re like big puppy dogs.”
The famous donkey also was a marquee attraction at the recent stamp dedication ceremony in Mount Vernon, VA, where he posed for photographs on the grounds of the estate of George Washington — a fitting site, as the Founding Father was also the founder of the breed.
Sharpy wore a customized bridle that read “I’m on a postage stamp,” according to Linn’s Stamp News.
As with many celebrities, his origin story was a topic of interest. IndianCountryToday.com explained that he was born and raised at Garrett Mammoth Jackstock, owned by members of the Cherokee Nation in Stilwell, OK. The owners sold him to their friends in Connecticut about 10 years ago.
“It’s quite an honor that one of the animals that came from our farm is on a national stamp,” Gina Garrett, a co-owner of the farm, told the website.
Meanwhile, back at the farm, Sharpy was again patiently putting up with the fuss and soaking in the adoration of his local fans. He was thanked and doted on and showered with treats for his service.
After all, “it’s not every day you get to meet a stamp celebrity,” Gibbs said.