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Customer attempts to pay paper renewal, but payment instead goes to Malaysia

It took the scenic route.

Billy Deal decided to mail his check to renew his subscription to the Sylvania Telephone. He put a “forever” stamp on the envelope, drove from his house in Sylvan Heights to the downtown post office and dropped the letter in the box.

From there, the letter had to travel just a few feet to reach the newspaper’s post office box in the same building.

Instead, it went to Kuala Lumpur.

As in Malaysia.

As in 10,000 miles away.

Deal went out of town for a while and hadn’t checked to see why his subscription stopped. He got the answer in the mail Saturday.

A woman in Malaysia whose parents live in Sylvania found his letter inside a Merle Norman circular that was mailed to her. Linda Stone Moran visits Bud and Betty Stone each summer and goes to the Merle Norman store while she’s in town.

“Anyway, you can show this to the Sylvania Telephone folks to show why your payment was late!” Moran wrote to Deal.

The letter took about a month to go to Kuala Lumpur and back.

Bud Stone said his daughter teaches at an international school in Kuala Lumpur and that taking the time to return the letter with a note of explanation is just the kind of thing she would do. He said she has taught in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Burma, as well as Kansas and Virginia. “She’s just a girl that loves children and has worked hard and has been in all these places.”

Deal said he’s going to e-mail her to thank her.

Jack Veal, who manages the Sylvania post office, said, “Probably so,” when asked if it was likely that the letter accidentally slipped inside the Merle Norman flier. He declined further questions and said he would have someone from the post office’s consumer affairs department call the newspaper.

No one called, at least not right away.

“Things happen,” Deal said. “I’m not upset about it.”