Losing things in the mail sucks, whether it be a book from Amazon, a thank-you note, or the remains of the woman who birthed you. Unfortunately, the latter happened to Donald Mink, a man from Indiana whose mother, Mary Louise Mink,passed away on February 23, 2017. She was in hospice in North Dakota, several states away, leaving Donald Mink with a decision to make.
Mink’s mom was late to arrive at his house. In fact, she never showed up. Which is kind of rude, but you can’t blame her because she was dead. You can, however, blame the crematory and the post office, and that’s exactly who Mink tried to contact when he realized something was amiss.
When Mink looked up his package (aka his mom) on the USPS website, the delivery was listed as “Dead Mail.” This is obviously hilarious, but Mink probably didn’t think so at the time, because “dead mail” actually means that a package was undeliverable and is likely lost.
Fun fact about Donald Mink, which is worth knowing before reading the rest of his story, is that Mink hadn’t seen his mother in nearly 20 years when she passed away. No explanation is offered for this distance. My best guess is that it was due to a dispute over a vast collection of fancy Mink coats. Because, like, puns, amiright?
So what do good-hearted Americans do when the world is against us? We sue. We sue hard. And that’s exactly what Mink did. He lawyered up and sued the crematory for $1 million for emotional destress, and also filed a complaint against the USPS. But USPS isn’t liable for lost mail due to the Federal Tort Claims Act, even if that lost mail is your mother.
As a young boy, I was raised on tales of ordinary Americans working hard, each and every day, so that one day they could sue the pants of a major corporation and rack in those dolla dolla bills. But apparently, the system is broken, because Donald Mink didn’t get any money even though the government lost his own mom.
The crematory denied any wrongdoing and pointed the finger at USPS for losing the package. According to Wayne Sykes (I know, looks like “Wanda Sykes”), who is the manager of the crematory, Mary Louise Mink’s remains were taken care of according to North Dakota administrative code before being handed over to the mail man.
The crematory also threatened Mink with slander after he was quoted trashing the crematory by several media outlets. Mink’s attorney advised him to take the statements back in order to win a settlement in court. Mink respond that “There’s no way in hell,” and then his attorney dropped him as a client.
It doesn’t look like Donald Mink’s mother will be delivered to him any time soon, although USPS insists they are still looking for her ashes. In the meantime, Mink has had no luck finding another lawyer to represent him; he wants money for emotional damages, as well as public apologies from the crematory and USPS.
The lesson here? Talk to your mom, folks. It’s important that you talk to your mom. Because one day, she might be lost in the mail.