Back in April in San Diego County, a family was desperately searching for their teenage daughter who had autism.
Authorities were contacted, search parties organized and volunteers turned up in droves — but the hours passed, and still no teenager.
Marken Riley Moore, who described herself as a family friend, shared the missing flyer and request for help on Facebook.
“My daughter is gone missing it’s Thursday and she left about 2: 30 p. m.,” the post began. “There is a complete mobile unit set up down at the corner of East Vista Way and bobier there is a hundred plus person search and rescue looking for my daughter also there is four fives dogs that helicopter was out for several hours this afternoon…”
Even in the early hours of the morning, no one had seen the girl, named Abby.
The worried mother continued, writing “…my daughter still not return so if anyone in Vista can get this out and circulate this I would greatly appreciate it it is a missing person flyer on my daughter…”
Chyanne Thomas, a young worker with the post office, had part of her route near Abby’s last known whereabouts.
Thomas told KSWB that mail carriers have their fingers on the pulse of the communities they work in: They’re often the first to know when something is wrong and they grow familiar with the people on their routes.
The police spoke to Thomas, but she hadn’t seen any sign of the 15-year-old — until the afternoon of April 20.
As she drove, she spotted a young lady wearing shorts, a gray shirt and no shoes.
“I immediately fling into action,” she told KSWB. She had a surprising method for engaging the teenager — she reversed the roles, telling Abby that she herself was missing.
“She goes, ‘You’re missing? I’ll stay. I’ll help’ … I played her role. I [didn’t] want her to run away.”
Thankfully, Thomas was the perfect person to find Abby, as she said she had “training in behavioral health” and had worked “with children on the spectrum.”
She called police, and soon the family was reunited with their daughter.
In a case of lightning striking twice, two weeks later Thomas was working another section of her route when she noticed a girl, looking to be 3 years old, walking by herself.
For a while, Thomas just watched her, sure a parent would pop up and join the young girl.
When minutes passed and no one showed up, it was Thomas to the rescue again.
“I immediately jumped out of the truck again,” she said. “She came and squeezed me so tight, with tears. She was so excited that someone helped out.”
Despite the coverage her heroics have gotten and getting recognized with awards, Thomas mantains that she’s no hero.
“I’m not a hero. I was just at the right place at [the right time],” she said. “I’m glad that the parents was reunited with their kids safe and sound.”
She says she loves her job with the post office, and if another chance to help a child comes up, she’s ready to leap into action once more: “If a child was in need,” she said, “I would step in to help again.”
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