Chyanne Thomas had barely worked at San Diego’s Vista Post Office for a year, but she had already received more recognition than many of her coworkers. Thomas earned two plaques for being an everyday hero. In the span of one month, being observant and using quick thinking led her to find two missing children in two separate incidences.
Chyanne Thomas was off-duty when she saw a news report about a missing teenager in her area. A 15-year-old girl who has autism had wandered away from home. While police did not suspect any foul play, her disappearance was still serious because Abby reasoned like a younger child. Her family was concerned that she wouldn’t be able to survive on her own for long. Like any caring citizen, Thomas felt sympathy for Abby, and she took special note of the pictures of the girl and the details about her that where broadcasted on the local news. Certainly, she never expected to be the person to find Abby.
On April 20th, two days after Abby had been declared missing, Thomas saw a teenaged girl who fit Abby’s description walking down the road in the middle of her route. She didn’t hesitate to pull over her postal vehicle and approach the girl. Abby immediately revealed that she was missing and needed help. With one call to the local police, she was swiftly reunited with her family. Happily, police later reported that Abby hadn’t been harmed in any way during her two-day disappearance. Although she did not get sufficient food during that time, she was only dehydrated when she returned home.
Finding Another Child
Just two weeks later, Thomas’ eagle eyes came in handy again. Plenty of people could have driven by that same spot without noticing a toddler on the side of the road. She was so short and far away from the road that she blended in with her surroundings. Since postal workers are focused on getting to mailboxes on the side of the road, Thomas noticed a little girl who seemed to be standing outside alone. The girl was not particularly close to any houses.
Thomas quickly parked her mail vehicle and calmly approached the little girl. The child was only three years old. She did not speak English at all, and like most toddlers, she barely spoke her native language. Still, the girl must have recognized that Thomas was a kind person because she was not afraid of the stranger. Thomas hoped that the girl had simply wandered a little too far away from her yard and that someone would come looking for her quickly. That’s why she simply waited with the girl for several minutes. When too much time seemed to pass by, Thomas called the police, who were able to reunite the missing toddler with her family.
What Made Thomas Help So Effectively?
What helped Thomas to keep a level head in both situations? Before becoming a postal worker, Thomas worked in behavioral health. She had experience working with individuals on the autism spectrum, so she knew how to reassure Abby that everything would be all right despite her stressful situation. Thankfully, human nature has no language barriers, so she was even able to reassure the toddler who didn’t speak English.
Although Thomas received two accolades from the U.S. Postal Service for heroism, she does not consider herself to be a hero. She said that she simply did what she’d been trained to do. She enjoys her job at the postal service. Hopefully, Thomas does not have to come in contact with more missing children while at work. But she has already said that she would not hesistate to help given another opportunity.
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