Abbey Motzer, a 15-year-old with autism, was reported missing on April 18, 2019, and April 20, Thomas spotted a girl who matched her description while out on her route. Motzer had wandered off without shoes, a phone or money, and a volunteer search team of more than 80 people had been looking for her.
Thomas pulled up next to the girl and turned the situation around: She asked the young woman for help, to keep her engaged so she’d stay with her and not run away. “I had training in behavioral health and working with children on the spectrum,” Thomas told Fox 5. “It helped me to know what to do in the situation.”
She called the police to notify them. Motzer was dehydrated but in otherwise good health.
Just a few weeks later, Thomas encountered a 3- to 4-year-old girl who was alone and appeared frightened. The toddler did not speak English, but “the first thing she did was run up to me and squeeze me and start crying, and I knew something wasn’t right,” Thomas told NBC 7 San Diego. She called the police for help, staying with the girl until her parents arrived.
Thomas received a pin and a plaque from the National Association of Letter Carriers for her heroic actions.
Still, she doesn’t consider herself a hero and feels that she just happened to be in the right place at the right time. She says that being an observer of the community as a postal worker helped her tune into her environment and notice when something was off. Watch her talk about her experiences in the clip from Fox 5 San Diego below:
When asked if she would consider going back to working with children, as she obviously has an aptitude for it, Thomas says she has no plans to change careers anytime soon.
“I love my job at the post office,” Thomas told Fox 5. “If a child was in need, I would step in to help again.”
Wow! Not only does Thomas have a huge heart, she knew exactly what to do when she found these kids in need. She really is a hero!