Not since the Tom Hanks character in "Cast Away" sat marooned on a beach talking to a volleyball has a FedEx image so gripped the nation.
A FedEx a trailer overturned Monday morning in Mahwah, N.J., scattering dozens of holiday packages across the interstate.
Yet, with that pre-holiday hiccup the shipping giant is now part of a long and storied Christmas tradition of delivery pathos.
From the fictional blizzard that almost kept a Santa from making his rounds, but for the light of a red-nosed reindeer, to Kris Kringle locked up and put on trial days before making his rounds in the 1947 film classic Miracle on 34th Street, this holiday above all others, is all about delivering on expectations.
In the case of the New Jersey FedEx truck incident, a second truck was quickly dispatched to pick up the packages and try and ease delivery delays on what the company said it expected to be the busiest day in its history.
“We have to keep pace and we have to keep up,” says Connie Avery of FedEX media relations in Tennessee in a phone interview. “This is our crown jewel. We’ve got this.”
Fortunately, the driver only sustained minor injuries and all packages were recovered – although damages are still being assessed, according to Ms. Avery.
However, as holiday glitches go this one barely rates a blip on Santa’s radar considering the number of movies, books, and arrests that have made headlines about Christmas gift-related miscues. Here are a few recent missteps:
On Nov. 28, according to Politics USA, “The biggest Black Friday protest ever hit Walmart today, and so far dozens of people who are calling on Walmart to pay their employees a living wage have been arrested. Santa Claus was also cuffed and taken away in California.”
On Dec. 1, children in England were left in tears when a planned Santa departure went horribly wrong – in the eyes of children.
"Father Christmas" left a parade by hitching a ride with local police to another event. But to the children, it appeared as if he were being hauled off to jail, according the Mirror of London. “It was a fantastic event until a police van reversed the whole length of Market Street and took Santa away,” one bystander said. "There was a lot of very upset kids thinking Santa wouldn’t be around for them.”
While truth is stranger than fiction you can’t beat the classics, including the most famous sleigh delivery disaster film: "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."
At the top of Mt. Krumpet, Dr. Seuss’ Grinch stands poised to tip all of the boxes, bags, and every last can of Who Hash from Whoville into the abyss.
Yet it isn’t a fleet of FedEx trucks, magic, or even a red-nosed reindeer which saves the day. Rather, the singing of a town celebrating Christmas even though they believe all of their packages have been lost.
As the narrator of that classic said:
And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?
It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.