Springfield postal carrier dons camel hat for route on "hump day"

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Hopefully all of us have people in our lives who make the world a little brighter every day.

And for businesses and governmental agencies in central Springfield, that person is their mailman, who's favorite day is Wednesday.

Howie Cunningham is a postal carrier who likes to make people smile. Which is why on Wednesday, he dresses a little differently with a camel hat adorning his head that signals 'hump day".

Yes, Howie is a live-action version of that famous Gieco commercial, yelling out "hump day" as he enters every door.

The hat was given to him two years ago by one of his many admirers along his route.

"Howie is a very postive person and every Wednesday he comes in and loudly announces that its hump day," explained Kara Daniel, who works at the city government's purchasing department. "And so I decided that he needed a camel hat."

And now as he makes hundreds of stops every day, it's amazing to see how such a simple gesture brightens everyone's spirits.

"He doesn't only serve us for mail," said Sharon Faison, who works at a church along the route. "He's a friend."

"He's always this way," added Lisa Cox, the public affairs officer for the Springfield Police. "It doesn't matter if it's Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. He always has the same attitude. He's always smiling. He's always happy and uplifting."

Howie's good nature endures despite his own personal tragedy. The guy in the camel hat making people laugh is only three months removed from losing his wife to cancer.

"It helps me to get through that because I can go and make somebody else smile which helps me smile," he said. "But life goes on. And those you lose would want you to go on and be happy."

You can tell that Howie has become an integral part of central Springfield's cultural tapestry as a friend to everyone he meets.

"They become family because you see them every day," he said.

He is family. Like the crazy uncle.

"Like the fact that he's willing to walk around looking silly just to make someone smile," said one of Howie's customers along the route. "That's pretty phenomenal."