A mailman, two little sisters, and weeks-long games of Tic-tac-toe

Mail carrier Adam Finley plays Tic-tac-toe with kids on his route.

(CNN)Adam Finley loves his job as a mail carrier for USPS.

He loves visiting with the people on his route and is always looking for ways to help the neighborhood during his more than 12-hour long shifts.
So, when the schools in his Georgia community moved entirely online in the spring, Finley, or "Mr. Adam" as the kids affectionately call him, couldn't help but feel sorry for the students stuck inside all day; some going weeks or months without seeing their classmates in person.
One day during his daily route in Stone Mountain, Finley decided to do something to help lift the spirits of the Jones sisters, Eva, 7, and Aria, 6.
"These girls haven't been able to go to school or see their classmates all year," Finley told CNN. "I thought, 'What can I do to bring a smile to their faces? Something different, something to bring some excitement for the day.'"
After checking with the girls' parents, Finley drew some index cards out of his pocket and started the first of many games of Tic-tac-toe.
Every morning, Eva and Aria run out to the mailbox to see Mr. Adam's latest move.
It was an instant hit.
Every morning for the next few weeks, Eva and Aria would run out to the mailbox to make their strategic moves, leave the cards in the mailbox, and wait for "Mr. Adam" to make his move when he returned with their mail the following day.
"It was what they looked forward to every morning, seeing what move he would make," the girls' mother, Erin Jones, told CNN.
Finley says he would let the girls win so he can reward them with a prize.
"They are always so excited to win," Finley said. "I've surprised them with gift cards for ice cream, flavored popcorn, anything to make them smile."
Finley, who has two grown children of his own, says he feels for the young kids not being able to experience the joys of in-person school this year.
"When it's 7:30 in the morning and those girls are all excited waving at the door, that's my reward," Finley said.
Nowadays Finley is playing the game with other neighborhood kids.
Jones said that although 2020 has been tough she is grateful for the lesson it taught her and her family about appreciating the small moments in life.
"Insignificant moments of 'normal' are now monumentally important," Jones said.
"The USPS may have had a hard year, but there's no doubt in the Jones house that the Christmas spirit is alive and well because of one of their best employees," she added. "Thank you, Mr. Adam, for bringing such light to such a dark year."