Over the past four years, a USPS mail carrier named Shonda Lemon has come to know Helen Iwanski, an 89-year-old woman on her delivery route in Chicago.
Their friendly banter led Shonda to take extra care with the senior’s mail, always wrapping it up in a rubber band to make it easier for Helen to grab. So when Shonda recently realized three days had gone by without Helen clearing out her mailbox, she knew something wasn’t right. She quickly made a call to the police department requesting a wellness check — and saved Helen’s life in the process!
Through their chats over the years, Shonda knew that Helen isn’t a traveler, that she lives alone, and that she doesn’t have kids.
“Those factors alone is what triggered me to know that there was something wrong, especially when she left her parcels on the porch overnight,” Shonda explained.
The police arrived within five minutes of Shonda’s call, and it turned out she was right to be concerned. When they entered Helen’s home, they found her lying on the ground, where she had been for the last few days after she’d fallen and couldn’t get up to go for help.
The police let Shonda know Helen was alive, and the mail carrier was immediately overcome with emotion.
“I began to cry, because it was a rejoicing moment for me, knowing that I had assisted her in sparing her life,” she said. “And you know it was just the pain and thought of what she may have been going through for those three days on the floor.”
Thankfully, Helen is doing well now! She had a brief stay in the hospital before going to a rehabilitation center to work on getting stronger so she could go back home. Her family is so relieved that Shonda was looking out for her. Mary Mason, Helen’s niece, added, “My aunt sends her love and appreciation to Shonda for being there for her. She said she will be forever grateful for Shonda caring enough to call the police.”
Shonda would do it all over again for Helen or any other person on her route! “This is more than a job for me. It’s more of a community,” she said. “At the end of the day, we’re a village, and we need each other to look out for one another.”
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