As Oceanside, CA, Letter Carrier Mike Tom makes his deliveries, he often spends a few moments interacting with his customers. Recently, one of his customers expressed to him that she wanted to end her life.
Tom had gotten to know the customer, her husband and their pets very well over the past several years, so when she expressed this to him, he knew something was terribly wrong.
Tom knew all too well that four years earlier her husband had died and now she was mourning the loss of her dog which also was beloved by her husband. It was clear that the dog’s death had triggered memories of her husband and she was re-mourning his loss all over again, which prompted her to say what she said to Tom.
“I was caught off guard when she told me this,” Tom said. He tried to calm her down, but she just kept weeping and insisting she was going to kill herself. So Tom made her promise that she wouldn’t do anything foolish until he had time to really talk to her. She agreed.
Tom quickly started looking for a support group that could offer her the professional help she needed. But, not having any success, he called the Oceanside Police Department.
The police followed up on Tom’s call and sent out an officer and a member of the Psychological Emergency Response Team. The officer said that Tom did the right thing by calling. After they consoled the woman, they took her to the Oceanside Human Society to perhaps find another pet. She quickly fell in love with one of the dogs and eventually adopted it.
Today, the customer admits that she is getting better slowly but surely. And Tom still delivers her mail and visits when he can. “I call him my guardian angel,” she said of Tom. “If it wasn’t for him making me promise, I’m 100 percent sure I would not be here.”
Tom does not consider his actions heroic. “I think anybody would have done the same thing I did,” he said. “I was fortunate that I was there at a time when she needed help and was able to provide it.”