Dear Fed Ex Customer Relations,

My father died last December. We had him cremated. Yeah, I know it's not usually the Jewish thing to do but whatever. That's what we did.

My mom got the ashes back from the crematorium or funeral home and she had some of them placed inside this marble box kind of thing for me. It is sort of like having a mini grave stone that you can keep in your house. We liked the idea of this so that we wouldn't have to drive to the horrible state of New Jersey (where his parents are buried) to visit him.

My mother lives in Philadelphia and I live in Chicago. I visit fairly often but the thing is, the stone box with the ashes is kind of heavy and it's sealed, so it's probably not something I could take home in my carry on luggage on a plane. If I checked the box of ashes in my luggage, maybe the Department of Homeland Security would bust it open to make sure I wasn't smuggling something. After all, it's a solid stone thing with a compartment that holds ashes. Might look like drugs when X-rayed. I didn't want to risk flying with it.

So, in light of all of this, we decided that she'd mail his ashes to me inside the memorial stone using Fed Ex. We decided to send it Ground rate, given that there wasn't any particular urgency. I loved my father dearly but if his ashes needed an extra day or two to arrive, that would be perfectly okay.

Since I live in Chicago, which has one of the highest crime rates in the country, we felt pretty confident that we could waive getting a signature on delivery because surely no Fed Ex driver would be stupid enough to just leave the box on the doorstep of my apartment building. Plus I'm working from home a lot of the time anyway so there was a good chance I'd be there when the delivery arrived.

I got home yesterday and found the box with my father's ashes fully opened, sitting in front of my apartment door, inside the building, on the third floor. Attached to the box was a note from my kind neighbor saying that he found the box on the side of the apartment building, outside, fully opened.

Clearly the box was left outside my building on the front step, whereupon some opportunistic piece of shit of a human being took it upon themselves to explore the contents of the box over on the side of the building by the dumpsters - perhaps to see if there might be something worth stealing.

Thankfully my father's ashes, and the memorial stone they were packed in, were not considered theft-worthy, and while the box was completely opened, nothing was stolen or damaged. I consider myself extremely lucky.

I am sending you this message not because I want to be reimbursed for anything, and not because I expect you to do anything, but because I'd like to remind you that people do expect your drivers to have common sense, and they do rely on you for mailing things that, while not necessarily of interest to thieves, may be of great personal importance to the people who expect to receive them.

Better luck next time,

Marc Fischer