While mail carriers traditionally deliver letters, packages, and bills, one recently made a few extra-special deliveries. A California postal worker found two missing children in two weeks while delivering mail on her route and managed to reunite them both with their parents. She has since been honored with two awards for her heroism, according to local media outlets.
In an interview with NBC-owned KNSD, Chyanne Thomas said she considers herself to be "the eyes and ears" of her local community. And thankfully, she's kept both wide open while delivering mail as a Vista Post Office employee in San Diego County, California.
Thomas located the first missing child on April 20, just one day after police had approached her with a description of a 15-year-old girl with autism who had reportedly wandered away from home shoeless late on April 18, The San Diego Union Tribune reported. Thomas told Fox 5, that she was working through her route when she saw a girl who fit the description police had shared.
"I immediately flame into action," Thomas said in an interview with Fox 5. "I pulled over with no hesitation, I just pulled over." After calling 911 to report finding the child, Thomas said she then approached the girl and pretended to herself be someone who was missing and needed help.
"[The girl] goes, 'You're missing? I'll stay. I'll help.' I played her role," Thomas told Fox 5 about how she drew on her past experience and training in working with kids who have disabilities when approaching the teen. "I [didn't] want her to run away [or] into the street," Thomas said. "Had I not had that type of training, I don't know how I would have kept her actions [calm], kept her enthused to stay with me."
Local law enforcement told The San Diego Union Tribune that first responders found the teen to be "dehydrated but otherwise in good health" when they arrived on the scene. The girl was then reunited with her family, according to the paper.
Roughly two weeks later, while out on her route, Thomas spotted a second child walking alone in the street and looking as if they were in need of some assistance, according to KTLA. This time the child was a 4-year-old girl who Thomas said did not appear to speak. After waiting to see if a parent or caretaker was somewhere around, Thomas approached the girl. "I said, 'where's mom, where's dad?' She couldn't answer, but the first thing she did was run up to me and squeeze me and start crying," Thomas told KNSD. "I knew something wasn't right." That's when she called 911 and sat with the child until authorities, and the girl's parents, arrived.
For her alertness, quick-thinking, and willingness to act, Thomas has been honored with a pin of recognition from the National Association of Letter Carriers as well as a plaque and gift basket, according to Newsweek. But she has humbly refuted claims that she's a hero, saying she was simply at the right place, at the right time, and, perhaps most importantly of all, alert to her surroundings. "It just fills my heart with joy to know that I was aware, I was alert," she told KNSD.
While her recent achievements have resulted in her garnering national recognition, Thomas told Fox 5 that she currently has no plans to give up her postal route or hesitate to act if she ever spots another person in need again.