Durian, if you’re unaware, is a very stinky fruit. People who can get past the smell are very proud of themselves and insist that it tastes great. It has been described by Takeout contributor M. Paramita Lin as “what would happen if a toddler invented a fruit made up of everything they like—from dinosaurs and farts to ice cream and pudding.”
The staff of the post office in Schweinfurt, a town of about 50,000 people in southern Germany, was unaware of the power of durian, which is maybe not surprising since the fruit is mostly grown and eaten in Southeast Asia. When an unusually smelly package arrived from Nuremberg this past Saturday, staff members were alarmed. They evacuated the entire post office and summoned the police, the fire department, and emergency services. (CNN reports that “six ambulances, five first-responder cars and two emergency vehicles attended the incident. Three different fire departments were also involved.”) Twelve of the 60 workers required medical care for nausea; six of them were taken to the hospital.
Eventually the package was given the all-clear and sent on to the lucky recipient. But now the postal workers of Schweinfurt know, for better or worse, what durian smells like, and maybe the sender of Nuremberg has learned that people freak out when they have to handle really smelly packages. And the police, firefighters, and EMTs now have a story to share during slow periods: “Hey, guys, remember when we had to fight that durian disaster? What a time!”