If you walk around downtown Seoul, you can see a special mailbox, called a “warmth mailbox,” which differs from ordinary mailboxes in Korea. If you write your private worries anonymously in a letter and put them into the mailbox, you will get an answer in the form of a handwritten letter after 2–3 weeks. This is very slow in comparison with most communications these days, especially since talking and having a conversation can take just a few seconds. However, there is merit in feeling warmth through a handwritten letter, even these days, when people are more used to exchanging news on the Internet. This mailbox began with one ordinary university student on a leave of absence—not with the city government or a company. After the student read “The Miracle of the Namiya General Store,” he came up with the concept of a warmth mailbox. He said, “I can’t solve people’s problems with a single letter, but I want to give them strength through a small handwritten letter.”
The first warmth mailbox was set up in Samcheong-dong, and the warmth factory began in earnest in late February this year. They received 150 letters on the first day. Unexpectedly, thanks to the support of many people, warmth mailboxes were also set up in three other places in Seoul. As a result, they replied to approximately 2,670 letters within five months and many people received some warmth. One of the warmth mailmen said, “After I received a reply from a warmth factory, I decided to become a warmth mailman.”
Not only the recipients of letters, but also the volunteers, feel the warmth. When the volunteers, called “warmth mailmen,” receive a letter from a seven-year-old child, they laugh because of the innocence of the child. When they receive letters from foreigners, they put their heads together to answer. In addition, when they read letters from people who are suffering from similar difficulties, they share sympathy and comfort with them.
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