A United States Postal Service mail carrier is being praised for her actions after her observant eye and quick thinking very well may have saved the life of an elderly woman on her mail route.
Shonda Lemon, an eight-year veteran of the USPS, says she’s been delivering mail in Chicago’s Dunning neighborhood for four years. She’s developed close bonds with some of her customers, including an 89-year-old woman named Helen.
“The elders on my route are dear to my heart,” she said.
Recently, Lemon noticed that Helen hadn’t been picking up her mail for three days. Lemon, who put special rubber band bundles on Helen’s mail to help the woman grab her correspondence, became concerned and knocked on the door.
“Day after day she wasn’t getting the rubber band,” she said. “I knew there was something wrong.”
When no one responded, Lemon called 911 for a well-being check. Helen was found lying on the floor, having had no food or water for several days.
Helen’s niece Mary Mason got a call from authorities informing her what had happened to her aunt.
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“I feared the worse,” Mason said. “She fell and she just laid there.”
Lemon says officers called her to tell her that Helen was alive, and while she was relieved, it was a very emotional moment.
“When I heard that, my heart trembled,” she said. “It made me cry.”
Mason immediately praised Lemon, saying that without her quick actions, her aunt may not have survived.
“I don’t think she would have lasted,” she said. “I don’t think it would’ve been a good outcome.”
Mason made it a point to meet Lemon, and on Wednesday she did, and the pair hugged and cried as they celebrated Helen’s health.
“I need to tell her thank you so much. She’s our angel,” Mason said. “She takes care of my aunt.”
The United States Postal Service issued a statement Wednesday, saying that they are “very proud” of Lemon’s actions.
“The Postal Service is very proud of the actions of Shonda Lemon,” officials said. “Postal Service employees know the habits of their customers and the rhythms of their communities, and are often the first to notify emergency personnel and render aid when something is wrong. Employees have been commended for going above and beyond the call of duty in a variety of situations, such as assisting lost children, getting help for sick or injured customers, spotting fires, and more. It’s another example of the heroic actions taken by an employee in the neighborhood they serve.”
As for those who are calling her a hero, Lemon laughs off the idea, saying that it’s something that any good person would have done.
“I don’t look at myself as a hero,” she said. “I just look at myself as one of God’s children looking after his other kids. That was my blessing for the day, that she was okay.”
Now, Helen is in rehab, building up her strength, and according to Mason, she is ecstatic that NBC 5 is airing the story of her guardian angel.