Letter carrier claims she was fired for delivering Harry Potter

Saturday, June 21, 2003

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A U.S. Postal Service letter carrier told a television station she was fired Friday after accidentally delivering a single copy of the new "Harry Potter" novel a day too soon.

But postal officials told KMBC-TV that Kenia Cooper had only been suspended, and such a mistake would not likely warrant her dismissal.

"I'm paid to do a job. I did a job," Cooper told the station. "It's a book -- it's fiction -- and this is my real life. This is not fiction."

Cooper said her daily load of mail included one copy of the eagerly awaited, closely guarded addition to the Potter series, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." Book stores across the country stayed open late Friday night, waiting until the official midnight release to begin selling the boy wizard's fifth magical adventure to adoring fans.

The book Cooper accidentally delivered was marked with a notice that said do not deliver until June 21. Cooper said she didn't see it.

The recipient of the early delivery, Connie Fifer, told KMBC she knew the delivery was a mistake, but she opened the package anyway. By the time a co-worker was two chapters into the story, Fifer got a call from the post office. They wanted the book back.

"They said they delivered it early and made a mistake, and would I mind bringing the book with me to the front desk," Fifer said.

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