USPS To New York Town: Hey, Sorry For Delivering Blood-Stained Mail

Sometimes mail shows up ripped, twisted, soaked through, or otherwise damaged and you think, “Man, this is a bummer.” But residents of one New York town found their mail had been altered in a more disturbing way: it was smeared with blood.

The United States Postal Service issued an apology to residents of the town of Olean who complained about getting mail stained with blood, the Olean Times Herald reports.

A spokeswoman said that a mail carrier had cut his hand on the job on Tuesday, leaving evidence of his injury on the mail of numerous townsfolk along his route. He thought the bleeding had stopped, and didn’t realize it was getting on the mail.

“One of our vehicles was involved with a swipe … with another commercial vehicle, and what was damaged was the mirror on the side,” said the spokeswoman for the Western New York district of USPS. “The employee went to adjust the mirror and cut his finger. It wasn’t anything (then) that needed medical treatment.”

The postmaster called the carrier back to the office after several customers complained, so he could treat his finger.

For customers concerned about any possibly infectious blood, the USPS says it has “no indication” the mail carrier involved has “any significant illness” capable of transmission through blood, the spokeswoman said, and that the health risk would be minimal, “especially if it’s dried blood.”

“We did touch base with our medical staff just to get an idea of what the protocol is in that regard,” she said, adding that customers with concerns should call the post office. “I don’t want to discount that people have legitimate concerns.”

Anyone who has soiled mail should throw it out in a plastic bag in appropriate trash receptacles, the spokeswoman advised.

“The blood on the mail is not anything that we would want to have happen, and we sincerely apologize that customers were inconvenienced by that,” the spokeswoman said.

Postal Service representative apologizes for bloody mail [Olean Times Herald]