Good mail delivery people are bound by the age-old creed, “Neither snow nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” but at our Portola Gardens community, United States mail carrier Richard Cairo is true to another, more personal commitment, he says ‘hi’ to Mom.
Richard’s mother, Angie Cairo, age 91, is a resident at the Portola Gardens community and receives a visit each working day from her son, who drops off the mail every day at the front desk. He then finds his mom and gives her a kiss on the cheek.
For a few minutes each day, Rich can be found sitting with Angie, either chatting or sitting quietly holding hands. While they sit, he sometimes chats with fellow residents he has gotten to know over time. Once for fun, he got out her Chanel perfume and gave her a spray, offering a spritz to any other lady in the lobby who wanted to feel feminine and pretty.
“It’s very special to come in as I’m working,” says Rich, adding his mother always greets him with a smile. “And, it’s always warm in the lobby,” he adds laughingly, as sometimes the inclement weather of the area makes his route challenging. He has served as a postman for almost 34 years now, 13 of which is on the route that takes him to the Portola community.
The Cairo family has deep roots in the local area. A mother of four, Angie was also an enterprising salesperson at a dress shop once located at 16th Street and Mission Avenue, MariAnn’s Dress Shop. Rich recalls she was their top salesperson. She was a busy mom that still managed to make best-quality Mexican rice and homemade tortillas, Rich remembers.
Rich, who is also a real estate agent, has sold more than 64 homes in the Portola area and lives just a few minutes from the University Street location. In fact, Rich learned of Portola Gardens because it was on his route, so when the time came to make decisions for his mom, he already knew where he wanted to take her. “I knew the community provided good care in a friendly environment,” says Rich. Although Rich is eligible to retire from the Postal Service, he has no plans to leave the job as of yet. “I will continue to deliver the route as long as my mom is here,” he says. A fitting commitment for a son who has made family part of his job.