"Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these courageous couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."Fiction has a tendency to treat the mailman as an unstoppable force. Come downpour, blizzard, flood, The End of the World as We Know It, or big, friendly dogs, your mail will still be delivered. Sometimes, it's even exaggerated to the point where the mailman will find you and deliver the letter no matter where you are in the world. They may even have the ability to fly. Keep in mind that this isn't merely about unstoppable characters who happen to be mailmen; it's about mailmen who display impossible persistence in the process of delivering the mail. The source of the page quote itself is nearly a direct quotation from the description of the Persian messenger system in The Histories of Herodotus written between 450 and 420 BC. Compare the Non-Giving-Up School Guy who's ridiculously persistent in giving you an education rather than delivering your mail, the Determinator who's merely ridiculously persistent in general, and the Implacable Man who's just not playing fair. See also: Courier.
open/close all folders
- In the wake of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on New York City and the Pentagon, the United States Postal Service released a commercial reassuring the nation that, despite everything that had happened, the people of the United States could still count on them. It's actually pretty heartwarming, and its message fits this trope:
"We are mothers and fathers and sons and daughters who every day go about our lives with duty, honor, and pride. And neither rain, nor snow, nor heat, nor gloom of night, not the winds of change, nor a nation challenged will stay us from the swift completion of our appointed rounds. Ever."
Anime and Manga
- The Letter Bees from Tegami Bachi are given a companion and told to deliver their mail no matter what monster tries to stop them. There are often many complications with the letters themselves, such as the intended recipient having moved or being in a difficult area to reach.
- In a filler episode of Naruto, Jiraiya's newest novel draft gets mixed up with a diplomatic message from one kingdom to another, and Naruto desperately tries to chase the mailman down, despite his adamant refusal to listen to what Naruto is saying. In the end, Naruto fails, but the Daimyo turned out to be a fan of Jiraiya's work, so things turn out well.
- While a very specific type of courier, the News Coo seagulls in One Piece seem capable of bringing a newspaper to almost everybody in the world, regardless of if the recipients are sailing out in the open ocean, in areas with dangerous weather, in ultra-secure locations, or even in hiding. The only known exception is the Calm Belt region; the sea monsters that live there are apparently too much for even the News Coos.
- Substitute "Chinese food delivery girl" for "mailman" and you have Aika from Persona 4: The Animation: The Chinese diner she works for has a "we deliver anywhere" policy and they do mean anywhere. As an example, Aika onces delivers food to the heroes while they're running for their lives, having not been given an address, since they aren't in a physical building at the time. She treats the whole thing like just another day at the office.
- Several from the Disney Ducks Comic Universe:
- In the Carl Barks comic story "The Persistent Postman," Donald Duck is a persistent postman who delivers the mail on a nearly impossible route. He buys a helicopter to try and make the route go faster, and gets into a fight with a giant eagle who steals his sack of mail, but in the end still manages to deliver everything.
- In another Carl Barks story, "My Lucky Valentine", Donald gets a job as a mailman and has to deliver a valentine by walking miles in a blizzard. When he realizes the valentine is addressed to Daisy from his "dirtiest rival," Gladstone Gander, he throws it away, but then feels guilty and goes through all kinds of trouble to get it back and deliver it.
- And in a story by Don Rosa, Scrooge gets a telegram from the Tsar of Russia. While he (Scrooge, not the Tsar) is in the middle of the polar waste, near the North Pole. (The delivery man gets no tip from Scrooge, though. Cheapskate!)
- Then there is another story where Scrooge, due to his complaining about the postal service, becomes the mailman and having declared that every real place must receive mail, has to deliver a letter... to the planet Venus. To his credit, he accomplishes the task in the end.
- In the DC Comics Crisis Crossover Final Night, at least one Metropolis mailman is still on his rounds when everyone is certain that the world is about to end.
- Similarly, during Marvel Comics' Onslaught mega-crossover, Hulk and Onslaught are slinging punches hard enough to shatter windows of buildings across the city. Willie Lumpkin, (the Fantastic Four's mailman who shows up every once in a while) tries to push through the crowd and begins to deliver the famous passage... but even he gives pause as the two behemoths battle.
- Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire is troubled by one of these in the Gallimaufry arc, the mailman in question attempting to serve him a summons for his tax duties.
- In the Pony POV Series, Derpy is this by virtue of her Determinator status, but its taken Up to 11 with the fact that her potential Alicorn self is the Anthropomorphic Personification of Determination and Letter carriers, making her literally the personification of this trope. Its actually more epic that one would think, given it basically manifests as nothing being able to stop her from reaching the destination she's heading for.
- The Western Union Man in Back to the Future Part II is able to deliver a letter at the exact minute specified despite a thunder storm and an obscure delivery site. Granted, they had decades of advance notice.
- Cast Away: FedEx manager Tom Hanks leaves one of the packages that wash up on the island with him unopened. After five years, he escapes the island and delivers the package. He also kept track of the addressees for the packages he opened, and bought replacements for many of the items he used, which he was delivering to their intended recipients at the end.
- Independence Day - Will Smith's character notes that his mail was still delivered despite an Alien Invasion.
- A non-Postal Service example in Overnight Delivery. The main character sends a breakup letter by 24-hour parcel service, then changes his mind and tries to get it back. The driver absolutely will not give up on getting his packages delivered.
- The Postman lives this trope, naturally. For starters, Costner's character (the eponymous postman) is delivering letters in a Post Apocalyptic world. Despite originally only doing it to get food and a warm bed, the letters give people hope and the role grows on him. The younger couriers take it even more seriously than the protagonist does, as his first apprentice declares "I would die to get a letter through."
- Tol'able David is a 1921 silent movie about a young rural man who ends up fighting the local thugs to deliver the mail - this movie played in the theater at the climax of The Tingler.
- Codex Alera features the Cursors, the mail service funded and operated by the First Lord. They're also his spies, saboteurs and assassins. In Alera, everybody is a badass, and that includes the mailmen.
- The Discworld novel Going Postal obviously has a few examples.
- The book features a slightly damaged version of the page quote: "Neither rain nor snow nor gl om of ni t will stay these mes engers abo t their duty.note " It had been complete once, but some of the letters were stolen. note
- Probably as a Shout-Out to the Irish post mentioned below, in the follow-up book, Making Money, there's an section in the Post Office dedicated to identifying improperly-addressed mail for proper delivery. They manage five out of every six, though Lord Vetinari is shown to be consistently more skilled than even them.
- The golem mail carrier once failed to deliver a message to a king before the kingdom was destroyed. Roughly 10 thousand years later, he still carries the message in the belief that time is cyclical and he'll eventually get another chance to deliver his message. His personal version of the motto is "Neither Deluge Nor Ice Storm Nor The Black Silence Of The Netherhells Shall Stay These Messengers About Their Sacred Business.note "
- In the Ankh-Morpork Post Office Handbook, it is revealed that the status of Hero of the Post Office is conferred on those who go way beyond the call of duty. One potman managed to deliver a parcel containing a delicate piece of glassware without dropping it, despite trailing a firmly attached Lipzwiger dog down the full length of a very long driveway, ringing the bell and handing the item to the butler before passing out due to loss of blood (and later, loss of leg).
- The Postman is about this trope: After the End Of The World As We Know It, some guy puts on a postman's uniform, and reconnects the world that fell apart.
- Harry Potter:
- No matter where you are, an owl with a letter for you will find you, even if you've moved (like Harry in the first book) or are deep in hiding (Sirius). The letter will even have the correct address. Justified as a wizard literally did it.
- Also, Hagrid: to prevent Harry from getting his Hogwarts letter, the Dursleys had moved on a shack in the middle of the North Sea, with a powerful storm preventing navigation, and yet Hagrid arrived, punched down the door, bent the barrel of the shotgun Vernon was threatening him with, delivered the letter, and forced the Dursleys to let Harry read it. You may stop a post owl, if you know what you're doing, but not Hagrid in mailman mode.
- In Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens, the same mailman finds the four horsemen of Apocalypse anywhere they are (from an African country torn by civil war to good old England) to hand them their symbols/weapons of power. He even kills himself to meet Death and deliver him his package. Note that he is a regular guy, with no powers or special skills.
- A delivery man in the Knight and Rogue Series carries a letter meant for Fisk for three months, and devises a method to track him through a number of towns to deliver the darn thing.
- In Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle's Lucifer's Hammer, not even a comet impact is going to stop Harry the mailman from the completion of his appointed rounds. (Not that there's much mail from out of town afterwards.)
- In Malazan Book of the Fallen the Trygalle Trade guild is an extremely expensive guild of couriers who can deliver packages to just about anywhere, using magic that amazes even the most accomplished mages in the series.
Live Action Television
- Babylon 5 has the Earthforce's mail service, who won't be stopped by a meteor swarm (so they claim), nor by a revolution and a blockade from the rest of Earthforce (shown on screen). There's just one problem: the revolution tripled their prices on the station. What really sells it, though, is Zack's implication that the Post Office is scarier than Earthforce:
Garibaldi: Come on, Zack! I'm head of security on this station. We've stared down two Earthforce carrier groups...Zack: Yeah, but this is the Post Office!
- Cliff Clavin on Cheers played with this.
Cliff: You know, in my line of work, we have a saying.Woody: What's that, Mr. Clavin?Cliff: Nor rain nor snow nor hail nor dead of night will stay these couriers from their appointed rounds.Another patron runs in.Patron: Hey, Clavin. My battery's dead. Can you give me a jump?Cliff: What? And catch my death? Hit the bricks!
- One episode had Cliff come down with a cold in the middle of his route. He convinces Norm to finish it for him and gets him arrested. He spends the rest of the episode debating whether or not to admit to it.
- Subverted in the episode with the raging thunderstorm which turns out to be a dream of Diane's.
- One of the Face-Off games in Nick Arcade is Post Haste where players have to control their mailmen down a street while avoiding pets, old ladies, trash cans and other obstacles.
- Rudyard Kipling's "The Overland Mail":
Is the torrent in spate? He must ford it or swim.Has the rain wrecked the road? He must climb by the cliff.Does the tempest cry "Halt"? What are tempests to him?The service admits not a "but" or an "if";While the breath's in his mouth, he must bear without fail,In the name of the Empress, the Overland-Mail.
- Deadly Rooms of Death has the Truth Vessels. The tracking-you-down aspect is even justified by stating that some of them keep tabs on Beethro's location. It's exploited when they deliver a message to every single person on the surface, without actually trying to deliver anything. Beethro just attached the message to them all and sent them to get an answer to a question so hard, they needed to search the entire Eighth.
- The postman from The Legend of Zelda games is of the track-you-down-anywhere variety. Specific examples:
- The postman's endurance is most noticeable in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, where he becomes an Implacable Man who can't even be deterred by the Twilight that is gradually reducing everyone in Hyrule to spirit form. After clearing the Twilight from Faron province, he finds his way barred by the wall that blocks off Eldin and Lanayru... implying that he was continuing with his deliveries while in the Twilight (and thus in spirit form), and just happened to be in Faron when Link cleared it out.
- Majora's Mask deconstructs this trope with a mailman who can't stop, no matter how much he wants to. In the face of the impending apocalypse, he just keeps delivering the mail, because "escape from falling moon" is not written on his schedule. His boss has to give him a direct order to leave.
- The Prodigious Postman from Miitopia will deliver the letters from various NPCs to the player... even if places like, say, the Dark Lord's castle. This fellow has real guts of steel.
- The mailman Psychopath Carl Schliff in Dead Rising 2. Even a Zombie Apocalypse isn't enough to keep him from his appointed rounds—or from demanding a signature on delivery. When he finds out who you are (that is, the guy who's been framed for starting the zombie outbreak), he attacks you - not for causing the death of thousands of innocent people, but for screwing up his schedule. Even killing him won't stop him from making one last delivery, life saving Zombrex to the hero. In Off The Record, where you play as a different character who has no connection to the outbreak, he instead attacks you for signing for the package, but not being the person it's addressed to, concluding you're committing mail fraud.
- Final Fantasy IX has you being the Unstoppable Mailman for the Moogles, who are save points. While you rarely have to go out of your way to deliver their letters, you have to wonder just for what reason the Moogles are hanging around in deadly dungeons.
- The much-revered Mailer Daemon in NetHack. If properly set up in a UNIX system, he/she/it can deliver actual e-mails from your mailbox. Normally invincible, people have devised creative and exciting ways to kill him.
- Fallout: New Vegas:
Cass: Caravan code of the wastes is you don't fuck with the one who brings you your mail...
- The Courier, the Player Character. The game starts with you tied up, getting shot in the head and the package stolen. The first half of the game involves you tracking your would-be murderer across the Mojave to take it back. You still deliver the packagenote .
- Enforced by the Mojave Express, as a matter of fact. They have a policy of sending hit squads after couriers who don't complete their assignments (presumably, this discourages vagabond thieves from signing up for jobs and simply absconding with their packages). Mailmen in the Mojave have to be unstoppable, or else.
- Also, the player's mystery archnemesis through all four DLC, Ulysses, who goes through all the hellish places you do, and then some. It's telling that he's the only survivor of The Divide which was ravaged by underground nuclear detonations. Unstoppable is the right word, and he has a message for you...
- The nameless courier(s) in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim WILL deliver that museum pamphlet to you. Typically he'll find you in a town (even if a dragon is attacking), but on occasion he will cheerfully track you down at a remote and hazardous ancient ruin, the frigid dragon-infested mountaintops of northern Skyrim, the polar-bear-bestowed ice floes off the northeast coast of Winterhold, or the top-secret hidden entrances to the Thieves' Guild and the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuaries. Even if bandits have taken all of his clothes, he'll still get that letter to you, pants be damned.
- Lucien Lachance, of the Dark Brotherhood in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, finds new recruits for the guild of assassins. He visits the first time the player wakes from sleep after murdering an innocent person, to extend the greeting of the player's "new family," before casting an invisibility spell and walking off. The implication is that Lachance has been stalking you the entire time without your notice, whether you've been clearing bandit camps or storming the gates of Oblivion. That's frightening enough, but the lengths to which Lachance will pursue you are nothing short of uncanny. One quest requires you to enter another character's dreams to pull him out of a days-long sleep. You invade the dream by wearing specialized jewelry, and then falling asleep with the assistance of another mage. If you haven't slept since your first murder, Lucien will be there, in the dream, to welcome you to the Brotherhood. The boundaries of human consciousness and the physical universe pose no challenge to Lucien Lachance.
- In one Final Fantasy Tactics Advance mission, you must intercept a Bangaa postman before he can deliver a message to a place it should not be going. He will end up fighting your clan over the mission, and while he is not especially difficult, he puts up a fight.
- Howard Blackwood. He has been delivering his mail and giving sage advice to whoever is damned to the mad hellhole that is Silent Hill for at least a century, whatever unspeakable horrors are in his way. As of yet he's only an NPC and as such the player never sees the obstacles he faces, but it can't be any less than the rest.
- Parakarry in Paper Mario constantly receives more mail throughout the course of the game. While he's unstoppable in spirit, he's not in physical capability, as he often requires Mario's help to reach difficult locations.
- Mirror's Edge: The main characters' group are one. Neither lack of routes, nor dizzying elevation, nor hails of gunfire, nor the entire force of the police-state stays these courageous couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.
- Not exactly a mailman, the pizza delivery guy from EarthBound definitely counts. If you order a Pizza, he will deliver it within 3 minutes, even if you are in an area heavily filled with monsters.
- Looking for Group once featured a mailman who was able to deliver a letter to Cale even though he was in the middle of the woods.
- Wapsi Square once featured a mailman who was still able to deliver the mail despite a snowstorm of the worst variety.
- In Homestuck, PM goes to incredible lengths to retrieve a package she's supposed to deliver when it falls into the hands of an official on the opposite side of the war her people are fighting. She also survived the destruction of her home, wandered for untold number of years in a wasteland, duty bound to deliver the mail to long gone people. Then her friends are killed through time shenanigans and she decides to dedicate the next few years to chasing down their murderer and kicking his ass... through the Furthest Ring, an Eldritch Location that requires the presence of both a Reality Warper and a Time Master to properly navigate. She is neither and yet she effortlessly powers through the Ring fueled by pure Power Of Hate. Even the Bigger Bad slaughtering the Noble Circle of Horrorterrors left and right only slows her down for a split second.
- In Perry Bible Fellowship even the apocalypse doesn't stop the US mail from making a delivery. Too bad it's junk mail.
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal has a comic with a mailman impaled by multiple swords dragging himself to the mailbox saying "The... mail... must... get... through!"
- The Little Man From the Draft Board from the Looney Tunes short "Draftee Daffy", who will stop at nothing to give Daffy Duck his conscription notice, even follow him all the way to Hell.
- Parodied on Jimmy Two-Shoes, when Heloise wakes up to find Beezy in her bedroom, now a mailman, to deliver her a package. The joke being that Beezy's sloth is legendary.
- One episode of The Simpsons briefly shows a mural on the wall of the Post Office depicting a mailman delivering a letter despite being struck by lightning and attacked by dogs in a blizzard.
- The title character of Spongebob Squarepants (and Squidward) for an episode, assuming you replace Unstoppable Mailman with Unstoppable Pizza guy.
- An episode of KaBlam!, in the short of "Life with Loopy", she has to deal with one unstoppable mailman who never stopped at anything to deliver bills to her dad. She even inflated her home like a balloom to avoid him, and yet he used a flying machine to get there!
- This is essentially Baloo's job in TaleSpin. The cargo he receives is almost always dangerous—either the material itself is hazardous, or it attracts dangerous people. He's determined to always deliver the packages on time, even if doing so brings harm to himself.
- The entire premise of Get Ed: The main characters have to be Unstoppable Mailmen when their main competition tries to force them out of business via death every time they deliver something.
- The mailman from Hey Arnold! still has to do his job after the city gets hit with a ton of snow. He makes a song out of it just to lament his situation and to keep going.
I hate the snow. (takes a step) I hate the snow. (takes a step) I hate the rain, (takes a step) and I hate the sleet (takes a step) but man, I sure do hate the snow. (takes a step)
- An episode of Mike, Lu & Og has one (with a Canine Companion) delivering air mail to the island who was undeterred by a ferocious storm and Lu's attempts to get rid of the "invader".
Mike: Neither rain, nor sleet, nor pain-in-the-butt princess wannabees will stop the mailman from delivering the mail.
- Parodied in Futurama. Many of Professor Farnsworth's contracts are deliveries to places that no sane company would attempt. He even produced a commercial showing a guy in a spacesuit dodging lasers, minefields and so forth to deliver a package.
"Our employees are expendable- your package isn't."
- In one episode of Garfield and Friends, Garfield is trying to get some sleep, but is continually harassed by Binky the Clown, who's running a birthday greeting service and thinks Garfield's house is the home of one Edna Fogerty, to wish her a 97-seventh birthday. Since Garfield can't tell Binky he's at the wrong house, all he can do is keep throwing the clown out. Eventually, Garfield hits upon a solution- he dresses up as an old lady and lets Binky think he's made his delivery. Alls well that ends well, right? Nope! Turns out it's also Garfield's birthday, and Jon hired Binky! Cue the tubby tabby fleeing into a desert, only to find Binky waiting for him atop the mesa he climbs.
Binky: Neither rain nor sleet- or cat with bad disposition- will keep this clown from completing his rounds!
- In one episode of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, a mailpony delivers a letter to Discord, while inside Discord's personal pocket dimension, a World of Chaos to the degree that the the worst he inflicted on Equestria during his villainous days was tame by comparison. Neither rain, nor snow, nor supernatural chaos dimension...
- The Pony Express (as noted on the Briefer Than They Think page, it only lasted a year and a half, but during that time it was vitally important).
- The Barefoot Mailmen who provided delivery service between Palm Beach and Miami, Florida between 1885-1892.
- The main post office of San Francisco was both damaged by the 1906 earthquake and the subsequent fires, but the postal workers fought off the fires using empty mail bags, saving the building and all the mail therein.
- When a post office burned down to the ground in a suburb to Stockholm, Sweden in the 80s, destroying all the records of who lived where, the mailmen still managed to deliver all the overnight mail the next day only a few hours late, working entirely from memory.
- Not the mail but close enough: the NY Times let it be known that no matter what happened during Hurricane Irene, they still would deliver. The fact that Irene ended up not being as bad as thought does not change how insanely badass that is.
- The U.S. Postal Inspectors are, by some measures, the country's most effective law-enforcement agency. They consistently maintain a 98-100% conviction rate.
- Most definitely inverted with the Russian Post Service, whose tardiness and obstructiveness has become the stuff of legends. Or at least of countless jokes and jabs, such as when a girl employs as a sorter at their facility just so that she could locate a package she's waiting for, or that the meteorite that crashed in Chelyabinsk in February 2013 was meant to bring about End of The World prophesised by the Mayan calendar in the end of 2012, but RPS was tasked with delivering it.
- Completely inverted by the Israeli Postal Company, who have at this point stopped even trying to find excuses for not delivering the mail, and instead simply don't do it. It's even been reported that disgruntled Israelis waiting for the mail have gone to the post office and seen massive stacks of unsent mail, dating as far back as eight months, sitting right by the front door, which the postal employees insist they'll only send them when they feel like it. A joke that came out around 2015 was something to the effect of "Israeli Post Office Serving the Central District Destroyed in Horrible Terrorist Attack- Service Not Expected to Change." This all sounds funny, but when this means court summons and draft notices come months late, or don't come at all, you'll find yourself in a lot of legal trouble.
- An Post of Ireland are locally famous for being able to deliver mail with unorthodox (or extremely vague) addresses. One even managed to deliver a letter with nothing on it but a map hand-drawn on the envelope itself!
- When the liner RMS Empress of Ireland sank, the recovery effort was as much centered upon pulling up as much mail as they could from the wreck as it was retrieving valuables. And yes all the mail was dried out and delivered.