Thursday morning dawned like any other day in the Duke Postal Warehouse.
A U.S. Postal Service truck backed up to the loading dock, and the driver rolled bins of mail inside for sorting.
Duke clerk Zenaida Juntilla was organizing letters, parcels and journals for campus delivery when she reached inside a bin and pulled out a special delivery.
"Oh my goodness," she recalled. "I'm trying to stage the mail and then what I find is a banana."
Three Forever Stamps were affixed to the darkening peel, which also bore the name of Duke student David Herrig and his campus address in green ink.
Turns out Herrig, and his friend, Joe Upchurch, also a student, had a running joke about sending a banana through the mail. "I thought neither of us would try it," Herrig said.
But on Tuesday, Upchurch slipped the banana, complete with Chiquita sticker, in a campus mail box in the Bryan Center. Somehow, the fruit ended up in the U.S. Mail, and made its way back to Duke on Thursday, said Mike Trogdon, director for Duke Postal Operations.
The delivery, while odd, is not unique. Pumpkins, whole pumpkins, are delivered to Duke by mail during Halloween, Trogdon said. And, a pineapple just went out earlier this week. Trogdon applauded the imagination and resourcefulness, and, while a banana is a permitted material, hopes postal operations doesn't see a surge in fruit mailings.
Will Herrig eat his banana?
"No," said the sophomore studying engineering. "I wish there was some way to preserve it -- maybe ask some bio students how to mummify it."