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A Puerto Rican Postal Service Worker's Message To The Class Of 2020

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This week, we're hearing graduation messages from people who have not been working from home during the pandemic.

CARLOS RODRIGUEZ: Dear class of 2020, we are in the middle of an unforeseen crisis that you and I have been cast into.

MARTIN: That's Carlos Rodriguez. He's a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico.

RODRIGUEZ: On many occasions, natural disasters have decimated Puerto Rico. The COVID-19 pandemic is a new disaster we are getting to know too well. I have taken a few words which I have made pillars of my life, and I hope they help any of you that I can reach.

The first one I'd like to say - resilience. The key to being resilient is being able to adapt to your reality - using rainwater to wash clothes, reading by candlelight in the dark, walking miles to get a few gallons of gasoline for a small generator that keeps a simple refrigerator running. Try to be resilient while sustaining a positive outlook not only for your sake, but also the sake of those around you.

This brings me to kindness. A small hello with a smile, simple consideration for the elderly, sharing enthusiasm for a small child's bicycle - these are seemingly small gestures that can provide some comfort to another person who might need that small act of kindness.

This brings me to commitment. I have a commitment to deliver supplies to my community in Guaynabo. I would have had more than enough reason to hide from the risks and just stay home. My reward for this commitment, the face of hope. Every person who sees my little white truck with red and blue stripes and the eagle with the words United States Postal Service can see that we are committed, and that fills my heart with pride.

This brings me to balance. Work, rest, recreation, family - create a balance in your life. Balance affords you the opportunity to enjoy life to the fullest.

So these four words - resilience, commitment, kindness, balance - have helped me through the most trying situations.

In Puerto Rico, we have a phrase that unites the whole island to stand together against any adversity. Puerto Rico se levanta. Puerto Rico will rise. To you, I say el mundo se levanta. The world will rise. You are here because you, too, have seen trying times and endured them. You are capable and can take on your next challenge. You have my respect. I take my hat off to you and congratulate you.

MARTIN: Very wise words from Carlos Rodriguez, a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico.

(SOUNDBITE OF CITY OF THE SUN'S "DREAMS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.